Teen gets two years in prison for attacking gay man
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org November 7, 2011 5:18PM
Updated: December 9, 2011 8:18AM
Bryce Stiff’s life changed forever June 24.
That was the day four men beat the Oswego man, giving him nerve damage in his face and legs, causing the need for reconstructive surgery on his lip, and putting him in counseling three days a week.
“I used to be a happy, caring and loving person who would do anything to help anyone,” Stiff, 29, wrote in a victim impact statement read in court Monday.
“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 said he felt some “relief” Monday when one his attackers, Marquitte West, 18, of Oswego, was sentenced to two years in prison as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to a hate crime.
It is the first time Kendall County has prosecuted a hate crime related to sexual orientation.
“It’s a little bit of relief,” Stiff said after the hearing at the Kendall County Courthouse. “I hope this never happens to anyone else. It’s not easy to deal with.”
West will serve two years at the same time he serves another 2-year sentence for a theft charge he also plead guilty to. In that case, he was caught on video trying to sell a stolen laptop computer.
He was also ordered to pay Stiff $6,527 to cover his medical bills since the attack.
The plea agreement says two other men charged in the incident, Robert Franklin and Jabari Tuggles, both of Oswego, could also be responsible for the restitution.
Franklin and Tuggles have been charged with mob action. Their their cases are pending.
Kendall County Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Dore said prosecutors are considering charges against a fourth suspect.
In his statement, Stiff said West was the “ring leader” of the attack, offering others $20 to beat Stiff, and calling him derogatory names.
“How low can you get?” Stiff wrote. “You are a menace to society.”
Stiff said he had been friends with West’s brother, and “knew of” West before the attack.