Suspects in hate crime accused again

December 23, 2008 3:34:28 PM PST
A pair of Staten Island teenagers already facing hate crime charges have been linked to another attack. The two white teens charged with attacking a Muslim teen on the night Barack Obama was elected are also accused in a hit and run several hours later that same night.

"This is the best Christmas present anyone could have. The best," Eileen Forte said.

She has her son back. That's huge considering doctors thought Ronald Forte might not survive the November 5th beating that required emergency surgery and left him in a coma for three weeks. The road to recovery will still be long.

"I need to teach my son how to do everything all over again cause his brain is not functioning," Forte said.

Authorities now believe it was Ralph Nicoletti and Bryan Garaventa who attacked Forte - the same two teenagers charged in the hate crime beating of Ali Kamara, a 17-year-old Muslim assaulted with a baseball bat as his attackers yelled 'Obama.' Sources told Eyewitness News that both crimes happened hours apart on Election night.

"I'm glad it was me and not some little kids or old people or somebody's grandmother. I can recover. I'm not really mad at them," Ronald Forte said.

The attack happened after Forte's night shift at a Richmond Avenue Shoprite. As the 38-year-old walked home with his hood over his head, two men jumped out of their vehicle, beat him and left him to die on Blackford Avenue. Why?

"They thought he was black... and that's the bottom line," Eileen Forte said.

Her son has no recollection of what happened. His recovery includes physical, occupational and speech therapy 5-days a week, 3-4 hours a day. Walking is difficult, but the love of family and friends is endless.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone and God bless them all. And Merry Christmas... That's it," she said, choking back tears.

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