Charges Dropped Against 3 Suspects in Bronx Bias Attack

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP Images
    A police vehicle secures the abandoned home that served as a clubhouse, and allegedly a torture chamber, for a street gang accused of trapping and brutalizing three gay men is seen, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/David Karp)

    Charges have been dropped against three suspects arrested following the abduction, beating and torture of two teenagers and a 30-year-old man in the Bronx -- hate crimes police say were motivated by anti-gay bias.

    Prosecutors said Tuesday there was insufficient evidence to charge Steven Carabello, Bryan Almonte and Brian Cepeda in the Oct. 3 attacks. They had been charged with robbery, gang assault and unlawful imprisonment.

    City Council Speaker Christine Quinn criticized the move. "I am both shocked and profoundly disappointed by his decision.  It is a decision that was made before all testimony was gathered and before grand jury proceedings occurred," she said in a statement.

    Authorities say the attacks at a Bronx home were touched off because gang members thought one of their recruits was gay. A 17-year-old was beaten and sodomized with a plunger handle, police say. Another 17-year-old also thought to be gay was attacked, and a 30-year-old and his brother were beaten as well.

    A total of 11 people were charged in connection with the crime. Today, the Bronx District Attorney's office dropped charges against three of those people. Their names are not immediately known.

    Those arrested are allegedly members of a gang which calls itself the Latin King Goonies, and suspects ranged in age from 16 to 23.  The men faced charges that include unlawful imprisonment, assault and robbery, all as hate crimes.

    The gang was accused of targeting a 30-year-old gay man after he apparently had a sexual encounter with one of their recruits, authorities said.

    The 17-year-old was beaten and sodomized until he confessed to his involvement with the older man, authorities said. The mob later went after the 30-year-old, luring him to an abandoned apartment they used for partying, where they tied him to a chair and assaulted him, police said.

    Another 17-year-old was also attacked because it was believed he, too, had an encounter with the man. The older man's brother was also attacked after gang members went to their shared apartment and stole cash and a TV, police said.