Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Will the new homeless hate-crime law
be used against the homeless?

A new Florida law aimed at curbing attacks on the homeless may be considered in charging the suspects in a brutal attack on a 68-year-old man in Lauderhill.

Both the victim and at least one of the suspects may be homeless. Police think victim Johnny Warden might be homeless is because he was arrested last month on a trespassing charge in nearby Plantation. A witness thought suspect Neil Wilson was homeless because he often asked for money and toted belongings in a bag.

"If that is the case, the suspects would be charged accordingly," said Lauderhill Police Capt. Constance Stanley.

Warden was beaten and robbed by two men who kicked him and jumped on his head. The men took his ID card, credit cards and Social Security card and then fled.

“They stomped him, kicked him and punched him several times and basically left him for dead," said Stanley.

Warden is in the hospital in critical condition. Police said Warden's last known address in New York is a dead end and no family has come forward in South Florida.

Wilson, 25, and Roberto Rodriguez, 31, have been charged with attempted murder but could be facing even more charges, police said.

Read the South Florida Sun-Sentinel report here.


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