In Brief – A man was sentenced to 4 years in prison today on a felony assault charge for the brutal beating of a gay Hudson resident after an argument on a busy sidewalk.
Lance M. Fongemie was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to the assault charge Sept. 24.
Hudson’s substantial gay community reacted with anger and defiance to the beating, with OutHudson, which organizes the city’s Gay Pride parade, saying that “violence against our community will not be tolerated.”
The altercation began in front of a corner store on Warren Street, where Fongemie allegedly called the victim a “faggot” as they were passing, according to a friend of the victim’s.
After an argument, the victim walked towards his home, but Fongemie followed a short time later.
Meredith Clark, who witnessed the beating, saw Fongemie walking down from Warren Street, saying he “seemed pissed off” and was looking down alleyways as though searching for someone.
Video of the incident acquired by The Other Hudson Valley captures the second encounter and shows the two men arguing as Fongemie begins circling the victim. Fongemie swings at the victim, who punches at the man almost simultaneously.
The victim swings once more before falling. Fongemie crawls on top of him, forces the man’s head against the pavement, then punches him in the face a dozen times, continuing even after the first few blows make the victim go limp, according to the video.
The victim’s facial bones were broken, and he suffered bleeding on the brain requiring surgery, according to the victim’s friend.
The Other Hudson Valley generally does not identify crime victims.
For a full description from the video and witnesses, click here.
Fongemie, who was homeless, was arrested the next day while hiding in a wooded area in Hudson, according to Hudson police.
He was indicted on second-degree assault, a class D felony, July 19 after prosecutors presented evidence to a Columbia County grand jury, according to court documents.
The charge did not include a hate crime rider, which can be attached to certain crimes and elevates the possible sentence. Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czjaka did not comment on whether the grand jury was presented with the possibility of attaching a rider. Grand juries are secret, and district attorneys, defense attorneys and the jurors themselves are barred from discussing them.
Fongemie must also serve three years of probation when released.