21 year old Luke O’Donovan , a victim of an anti-gay attack in Atlanta has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he assaulted his attackers.
On December 31, 2012; O’Donovan was attacked at a New Year’s Eve party. He was beaten and stabbed by at least five men who shouted homophobic slurs at him during the altercation. O’Donavan defended himself with a pocketknife, and escaped the incident. He received treatment for stab wounds and injuries to his head and body at the Atlanta Medical Center.
But hours later he was the one was arrested by police hours and charged with attempted murder and five counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Luke will spend the next two years in a Georgia prison, and then the following eight years on probation in what can only be described as exile after accepting a plea deal instead of standing before homophobic judge Judge Todd Markle and acing up to a 110-year sentence if he were convicted by a jury, O’Donovan agreed to a plea deal Monday.
To shed some light on where the sympathies of the Atlanta court seemed to lie, the sentencing hearing on Monday included testimonies from the mothers of the men who attacked O’Donovan. Judge Todd Markle told O’Donovan outright that he would have liked to put him in prison for more time than the plea deal entails. The prosecution argued that the word “faggot” was as “non-offensive” as teasingly calling someone a baby.
The sentence points again to Judge Markle’s homophobia and desire to extract as much punishment as possible for O’Donovan out of the plea deal. Specifically, the stipulation demands that after he leaves prison, during O’Donovan’s eight years of probation he is banned from the state of Georgia except for one county, Screven. Since an individual on probation is also not permitted to leave the state in which he or she is sentenced, O’Donovan is effectively banished from everywhere in the world for eight years except Screven County — which, by the way, has a population of just over 15,000 and boasts “small town living.” The nearest cities, Savannah and Augusta, are 60 miles away and are outside the space O’Donovan in which will be permitted to exist.
The Luke O’Donovan Support Committee released this statement:
“This is the epitome of a hate crime. Witnesses report seeing between five and 12 men attacking O’Donovan, stomping on his head and body, and stabbing him in the back while calling him a ‘faggot.’
“The demonization of O’Donovan’s actions is a part of a growing trend: criminalizing those who successfully defend themselves from hate crimes.”
“O’Donovan’s defense team was only able to negotiate the 10-year sentence after video footage surfaced of one of O’Donovan’s assailants participating in an attack of a transgender woman on July 3.”
Luke will enter the prison system first at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, GA, where he will spend the first thirty to sixty days of his sentence. He will then be transferred to Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, GA for between thirty and sixty days, during which his long-term location will be determined. Luke will serve out the remainder of his sentence — between twenty and twenty two months — at a location that is yet unknown
A heinous miscarriage of justice and abuse of power.
If anyone reading this can help Luke in anyway PLEASE contact the Luke O’Donovan Support Committee.