Suspect in gay hate crime's dad makes plea

October 15, 2009 3:14:33 PM PDT
The father of a man charged with brutally beating an openly gay man is speaking out, asking for forgiveness for his son's actions.Daniel Rodriguez, Jr., is one of two men charged in the hate crime. The 49-year-old victim suffered a shattered jaw, a collapsed lung and a damaged spleen.

"I want to say to Mr. price that I'm sorry for my son, and that he wasn't the one that caused him harm," Daniel Rodriguez, Sr., said. "I caused him the harm the minute I stopped being a father to my son. I hurt him."

It was an emotional plea of forgiveness from Rodriguez, Sr., a retired New York correction officer whose son stands accused of a vile act of hate.

On Wednesday, 21-year-old Daniel Rodriguez, Jr., insisted he did not have hate on his mind when cops say he and friend Daniel Aleman savagely beat Jack Price nearly to death. It was a crime captured in high resolution on surveillance video, seen first on Eyewitness News

On Thursday, prosecutors said Rodriguez confessed to detectives when they picked him up in Virginia, where he'd been hiding out since the beating.

He claimed that Price provoked him by writing graffiti of a sexual nature in the bodega where the confrontation began.

Then, prosecutors say Rodriguez admitted to using an anti-gay slur and stealing Price's wallet. He also allegedly told detectives, "I was angry, cause Jack is disgusting."

Price insists he did not write any graffiti and otherwise did nothing to provoke the attack. And as for Rodriguez' dad, Price's family says they may never forgive his son, but they don't blame him.

"I have four children of my own the same ages, and I don't blame him," Price's sister-in-law, Joanne Guarneri said. "And I feel really bad. He's going to be down a really long road with his son, and my family's going to be down a long road with Jack. It's just heartbreaking that three families are torn apart."

Price told Eyewitness News he is having his breathing tubes taken out, and family members are hopeful he will be headed home in the coming days.

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