Charges dropped against 3 in gay attack

October 27, 2010 5:23:02 PM PDT
Charges have been dropped on three of the suspects arrested for a brutal gay attack earlier this month.

A grand jury was hearing evidence in the case when it was announced three of the teenagers had been cleared.

Eyewitness News is told the three cleared are Steven Caraballo, Brian Cepeda and Bryan Almonte. They had been charged with robbery, gang assault and unlawful imprisonment. There were 11 people accused, and eight remain charged in the case.

Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson also announced that 26-year-old Luis Garcia has been indicted on charges of gang assault and other offenses in connection with the alleged bias attack.

Garcia is facing a maximum sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment if convicted of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony offense.

The maximum sentence for the gang assault charge is 15 years imprisonment.

The brutal attacks happened earlier this month when two 17-year-olds and a 30-year-old man, who were believed to be gay, were allegedly brutally attacked by members of a gang called the Latin King Goonies.

The victims were attacked in an apartment in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. They were allegedly beaten and two of them sodomized.

A grand jury has been meeting for some time considering the evidence in the case.

"He was not involved in this from the beginning, he was never a gang member, and I'm glad to see justice was done here," said Almonte's attorney.

One of the prosecutors said they just could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that these three were involved in the attack.