A Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime for allegedly holding a man hostage and beating him for four days because he is gay.
Jackson Sugrue, 19, of Framingham, Massachusetts reportedly held the man in his own apartment, without food or water, and beat him repeatedly, including hitting him with a coffee table. The 50-year-old alleged victim, who was finally able to escape and go to police on Saturday, said during one of the assaults Sugrue called the man a homophobic slur.
The two had been spending time together for a few weeks, the man told police, saying they were smoking crack together on Wednesday when Sugrue suddenly became violent.
“He (Sugrue) kept saying, ‘I know you like me. I know you’re gay,’” prosecutor Dylan Krasinski said, reports The MetroWest Daily News. “He kept saying it over and over. The victim believes this is what led to the assault.”
Sugrue has been charged with a hate crime, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness.
Sugrue’s attorney, Kenneth Gross, argued for his client's release using the "gay panic" defense. He said the man was "trying to entice my client to do things that were against his nature." Only three states, Illinois, California, and Rhode Island, have banned the defense.
His parents also argued their son was the real victim.
"My son is a victim of a 50-year-old man,” said Terry Sugrue. She claimed he had become obsessed and that she and her husband had tried to limit contact between the two.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest my son would have anything to do with a hate crime,” said Frank Sugrue.
The court ordered Sugrue to be held on $1,000 bail, to stay away from his alleged victim, and to appear again on August 1 for a pretrial hearing.
Editor's note: This article was updated to include Rhode Island as the third state to ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense, which it did in July 2018.