Do you remember the four men who attacked a gay couple at Miami Pride almost five years ago? Despite video evidence of the incident, the case dragged on considerably due to legal wranglings and the Covid pandemic. This week, it eventually reached its conclusion.
The four men in question (Juan Carlos Lopez, Luis Alonso, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Romo-Figueroa), faced up to 30 years in prison on charges of aggravated battery and hate crime. However, they accepted a plea deal which resulted in them escaping jail.
The charges were dropped to a second-degree felony: battery with prejudice. All four, aged 20 and 21 at the time of the attack, were sentenced to five years of probation, 200 hours of community service. They also have to complete an anger management course and had to publicly apologize in court.
The four men attacked boyfriends Dmitry Logonov and Rene Chalarc after a Pride event on April 8, 2018. Logonov told the court on Monday he has come to the US to escape persecution over his sexuality in his home country.
“Today, I’m taking a chance to rebuild my life,” Logonov wrote in a statement that was read out. “I believe these gentlemen should have that chance, too.”
Both he and Charlarc were in court on Monday.
Assailants apologize for their actions
Alonso said during his apology to the men, “This is not me, I wish we acted a different way and I’m sure it’s not going to happen again. I offer my sincere apologies.”
“I’m here to offer my sincere apologies,” echoed Romo-Figueroa. “My actions that day don’t define who I am or how I was raised.”
The other defendants offered similar apologies.
CCTV footage of Miami Pride attack leads to arrests
Logonov and Chalarc were holding hands and waiting in a queue to use a public restroom on Ocean Drive and Sixth Street when they accidentally brushed against Lopez.
This led to Lopez and the three other men brutally attacking the couple. Both men sustained cuts and bruises. A third man was also injured when he was knocked to the ground when he tried to intervene.
Miami Police posted CCTV footage and appealed for help identifying the suspects.
After the footage was posted, Lopez and his buddies turned themselves in. At first, they argued they acted in self-defense. Earlier this year, they attempted to make use of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. However, a judge denied the claim.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan said at the time, “There’s nothing in that video — and I watched it over and over again — that showed me that any of these defendants was in fear for their safety or their lives.”
In court, Judge Fajardo Orshan told Logonov and Chalarc on Monday, “I want to offer our sincere apology for the way some of our citizens have behaved.”
She added she found it “incredible” the couple found it within themselves to allow their assailants move on with their lives.
“I applaud you,” she told them.