Thursday, September 04, 2008

Trial begins in homeless beating case

A jury has begun hearing the murder case against two men accused of beating a homeless man to death with a baseball bat as he slept on a park bench in Fort Lauderdale.

Thomas Daugherty, 19, and Brian Hooks, 21, are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for their roles in the Jan. 12, 2006, beatings.

They could face life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty because Daugherty was 17 at the time of the crime and is ineligible for capital punishment.*

Norris Gaynor, a 45-year-old military veteran, was dragged out of a sound sleep and beaten to death because he was homeless. The other two victims suffered broken bones and lacerations. One attack was caught on surveillance video outside Florida Atlantic University. (Watch the video here.)

A third suspect, William Ammons, has already accepted a deal from prosecutors to testify against his former friends.

Read the South Florida Sun-Sentinel report here. And see previous post here.

Isn't it ironic that we may end up housing and feeding the defendants for the next 60 years when we didn't do that for Norris Gaynor?
* The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed. Read the court decision here.


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