A suburban Chicago man was sentenced to two years in prison this week after brutally attacking a gay man who was targeted because of his sexual orientation.
Marquitte West, 18, was one of three men charged in the June 24 attack in far west suburban Oswego, CBS Chicago reports. West allegedly knew Bryce Stiff, 29, was gay because the victim was friends with West's brother.
“I used to be a happy, caring and loving person who would do anything to help anyone,” Stiff wrote in a victim impact statement read in court Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I was happy about me being gay … but now I’m filled with so much bitterness, hatred and I’m very depressed. I don’t like leaving my home. I don’t like doing things that excite me anymore. I feel like everyone is out to get me.”
Stiff was brutally beaten and kicked by the men, according to CBS. He was left with nerve damage in his face and needed reconstructive surgery on his lip. He also suffered severe emotional distress from the incident. Stiff said West was the "ringleader" in the beating, and offered the other men $20 to attack the openly gay man.
Though the assault was classified as a hate crime, West was only sentenced to two years in prison. He will serve the hate crime sentence at the same time as another two year sentence for a separate theft incident, the Sun-Times reports.
“It’s a little bit of relief,” Stiff told reporters outside of court Monday, according to Fox Chicago. “I hope this never happens to anyone else. It’s not easy to deal with.”