A Syracuse man has pleaded guilty to attacking two men and shouting anti-gay slurs as they left the New York State Fair, according to reports.
Nicholas Ferlenda, 28, pleaded guilty to two hate crimes Tuesday – assault and criminal mischief – in the Aug. 24 onslaught in the parking lot at the New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse.com reports.
Ferlenda got enraged when one concert-goer put his arm around his boyfriend as they walked to their car, prompting the Syracuse resident to sock one of them in the face, the website reports.
Ferlenda then smashed the driver’s side window of a car belonging to the other man as the couple tried to leave the parking lot, state police said.
Prosecutor Anthony Mangovski said in court that Ferlenda’s bias-related assault lasted at least 30 minutes – during which he showed “unbelievable” hatred during the attack, Syracuse.com reports.
“This is one of the vilest things we’ve seen,” Mangovski told CNYCentral.com after the hearing. “The amount of hate that man exhibited was absurd.”
Mangovski had sought for Ferlenda to spend up to 3 years in prison, but the upstate New Yorker accepted a deal offered by a judge allowing him to plead guilty to both hate-crime felonies and receive six months in jail. He will also serve five years of probation and undergo diversity training, Syracuse.com reports.
Ferlenda, who was initially arrested on charges of criminal mischief, aggravated harassment and disorderly conduct, was screaming expletives while covered in blood when he was taken into custody, state police announced last year.
Ferlenda, who remains free on bond, is expected to be formally sentenced on April 14.
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