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‘Bias Crime’ Merits Prison Time For Brothers Who Taunted Gays With Guns

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Two brothers were each sentenced to a year in prison on Friday for a “bias crime” — taunting and threatening a gay nightclub patron with handguns.

Jacob Matthew Sarmiento and Jason Julien Sarmiento pleaded guilty to charges of felony menacing.

On Feb. 2, the pair got drunk at a Shotgun Willies strip club and then headed to El Portero, a nearby gay nightclub. There, they yelled slurs at patrons leaving the club. A fight ensued and police were called. After one of the brothers pulled a gun on an officer, the pair fled in a car and led police on a chase that reached nearly 85 mph before they crashed.

A fiancé of one of the Sarmientos said anti-gay attitudes weren’t the motivation.

“It wasn’t a bias-motivated crime. They don’t hate gay people. We have gay people around us. It’s a very unfortunate situation,” Laurie Garcia said.

The district attorney disagreed.

“These two men with two handguns menaced and scared the hell out of two men simply because they perceived that they were homosexual,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said.

The brothers cried as they expressed regret to the judge.

The Sarmientos have served about half their sentences.

 

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