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