3 men sentenced in beating of gay couple in Austin, Texas

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AUSTIN, Texas – Three men won’t serve any additional jail time after reaching plea deals in an assault on a gay couple in downtown Austin.

The 2019 attack on Spencer Deehring and Tristan Perry inspired a rally at the Capitol and the creation of a citizens' foot patrol, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Four men were charged in the beating, and three of them — Quinn O’Connor, Frank Macias and Kolby Monell — were sentenced last week after reaching plea deals for misdemeanor assault with a hate crime finding. Charges were dropped against the fourth man, Miguel Macias.

O'Connor and Monell were sentenced to probation while Frank Macias was sentenced to one year in jail but was already credited for time served in the Travis County jail.

Prosecutors have said Deehring and Perry were targeted because they are gay.

“We will not stop until the hate crime laws in Texas are enhanced to allow thorough prosecution of those committing such heinous crimes,” Perry and Deehring said in a statement Tuesday.

Attorneys representing the men charged have said the case did not meet the threshold to be considered a hate crime. Rhett Braniff, Frank Macias’ attorney, said Texas' hate crime law says investigators have to “prove that the defendants selected the victims because of their bias."

“What most of us felt, in this case, was that if a jury looked at the evidence here, they may not have come to that conclusion," he said. "In other words, this was a fight between two groups of people, and it may have happened regardless of the sexual orientation of either of them.”

The case was “overcharged and motivated by misinformation,” Brian Erskine, Miguel Macias’ attorney, said in a statement. “Law enforcement enraged our community with a ruse of bigotry,” he added.