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Man takes plea deal in anti-gay hate crime in California

DAVIS, Calif. – A young man accused of felony assault in an anti-gay hate crime against a gay resident of Davis has pleaded no contest to battery with serious bodily injury with a hate crime enhancement.

Clayton Garzon, who was 19 at the time of the crime, agreed to the plea deal that will bring a five-year prison sentence in the Yolo County Jail.
Prosecutors said they were pleased with the sentencing, according to a Sacramento Bee blog:

"The district attorney's office is very pleased with the resolution," said Jonathan Raven, Yolo County chief deputy district attorney. "We got what was important: a felony, showing the seriousness of the beating. We got the hate crime enhancement, and we got a prison sentence."

Garzon attacked Lawrence “Mikey” Partida outside his home after Partida has just celebrated his 33rd birthday. Partida was brutally beaten and hospitalized after the attack, and reported that Garzon had shouted “faggot” and other anti-gay slurs at him during the crime.

Partida suffered a fractured skull, facial bruising, black eyes and injuries to the neck and head. [see photo at the left]

The crime story was reported in SDGLN on April 2:

“The only reason he’s not dead is because we’re blessed, and my nephew got lucky. Otherwise, that was the intent,” said Frances Swanson, Partida’s aunt.
In an interview from his hospital room last month, Partida told local media that he was leaving a relative’s home in the early morning hours of March 10 when a man started harassing him and calling him a “faggot.” Partida said he ignored the man and kept walking.

“I was just trying to make the right choice in a bad situation,” he said.

“It was unprovoked,” Partida said. “He just continued, getting closer and closer, and then he just punched me.”

Partida, 32, said he heard the attacker using the slur – faggot – over and over again while beating him. “Pretty loud and proud about it,” Partida said. “He just kept fighting me and fighting me until I blacked out. And then I came to and was here.”

Statements obtained from witnesses indicate the motive for the attack “may have at least partially stemmed from the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation,” according to a police statement.