Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the three suspects agreed to testify about the fourth’s involvement in the case. Travis County court paperwork shows charges were dismissed against the fourth suspect.
TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Three men were convicted Friday in a January 2019 attack on a gay couple in downtown Austin, according to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Quinn O’Connor, Kolby Monell and Frank Macias took a plea deal and were convicted of assault bodily injury with a hate crime finding.
“The District Attorney’s office takes these cases very seriously,” said Assistant District Attorney Beth Payan in a press release Friday. “We worked very hard to evaluate this case and proceed appropriately based on the facts and evidence after consulting with the victims. It was very important to us that we secure the Hate Crime finding so that justice could finally be served. Hate crimes will not be tolerated here in Travis County, and they will be prosecuted accordingly.”
KXAN spoke with victims Tristan Perry and Spencer Deehring in 2019. They say they were attacked while walking back to their car after leaving a bar near the intersection of Third Street and Congress Avenue.
The couple told KXAN the group said homophobic slurs to them, which ultimately escalated into violence. A bystander made the 911 call. Perry and Deehring were both hospitalized after the attack.
The pair released a statement alongside the district attorney’s office, saying, “We will not stop until the hate crime laws in Texas are enhanced to allow thorough prosecution of those committing such heinous crimes. Our community has to live in constant fear of narrow-minded violent individuals that are threatened by our very existence. No person should be subjected to violence because of who they love or what they look like. Love will always conquer hate.”
Macias was sentenced to one year in county jail and must write a letter of apology to the victims.
O’Connor and Monell were sentenced to two years on probation, treatment/counseling including anger management and 50 hours of community service. They are banned from the downtown area, must stay away from the victims and must write a letter of apology, as well.
All three of them agreed to testify about the level of involvement of a fourth suspect in the case. The aggravated assault charges were dropped against that fourth suspect, at prosecutorial discretion, according to Travis County court paperwork.
The attorney for the fourth suspect said he was wrongly accused, and “the evidence showed he was not hateful and was not violent.”