30 May 2008

Satender Singh Case Update

Almost eleven months after the murder of Satender Singh, testimony in the trial of Aleksandr Shevchenko on hate-crimes charges began this week. (For background and previous reporting on the Singh case at MTBE see here, here and here, or a review of the case from the LA Times in March 2008 here.)

Via the Sacramento Bee, here's the latest from the prosecutorial side:

In testimony from the preliminary hearing, Sheriff's Detective Elaine Stoops said that Singh's behavior made him a target and sparked both groups to engage in name-calling for hours; but the language became explicitly homophobic and profane, she said, when one of Shevchenko's friends, Andrey Vusik, demanded an apology from Singh.

[Singh's friend Romil] Sharma testified Tuesday that Vusik wanted Singh to say he was sorry for his behavior. Shevchenko then followed with homophobic slurs, but Sharma told jurors that he did not want to fight and tried to defuse tensions between the two groups.

Eventually, the women and children with "the Russians" left the park, Sharma said. Then three other men showed up to join Shevchenko and Vusik.
And the defense's two cents:
But defense attorney Michael D. Long told jurors Tuesday that several witnesses who were not affiliated with either group told authorities that Singh, the "Fijian who later died," was drunk, dancing provocatively and instigated the ordeal.

He said Singh was seen "dirty-dancing" other men, and then responded with foul language when he was asked to stop.
Drunk and unapologetic provocative dancing with other men instigated a verbal attack and violence that led to Singh's death?

If this pathetic appeal to the jury's (and public's) homophobia actually gets Shevchenko off, I'm not sure I will know how to measure how angry I'm going to be.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that if that's all the defense lawyer has, it should be a walk in the park to get a conviction--for something. The tricky part is what, exactly. Presumably there were plea negotiations that broke down, but there's no telling why, or whose estimate of the odds will be borne out at trial.


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