CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Two South Texas men have received the maximum 15-year sentences in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal hate crime charges in the March 2012 torture of a gay African-American man in Corpus Christi.
Ramiro Serrata Jr. (23) and Jimmy Garza (33) were sentenced Wednesday in Corpus Christi by Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head. Both men must pay the victim $10,800 in restitution, serve three years of supervised release and register as sex offenders. Both pleaded guilty last September.
The indictment alleges that on Mar. 8, 2012, Garza and Serrata conspired to assault a gay, African-American man because of his race, color and sexual orientation. According to the indictment, the defendants invited the male victim into an apartment in Corpus Christi then assaulted him while calling him racial and homophobic epithets. Over the course of approximately three hours, the conspirators allegedly punched and kicked the victim and assaulted him with various dangerous weapons, including, a frying pan, a coffee mug, a belt and a chair. During the assault, the conspirators poured a household cleaning agent or chemical solution onto the victim’s face and eyes, pistol whipped him with a handgun and whipped him with a belt, according to Federal Department of Justice.
When the victim began to bleed, the defendants allegedly forced him to remove all of his clothing and clean up the blood throughout the apartment.
The indictment further alleges that after the victim was completely naked, the defendants sodomized him using a broom or mop and another unknown object.
Throughout the assault, the defendants repeatedly called the man racial and homophobic slurs and made other anti-black and anti-gay statements, according to legal documents. The conspirators also allegedly prevented the victim from leaving the apartment by physical force and threats of force. The man eventually escaped the apartment by jumping out of a window.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Corpus Christi Resident Agency with assistance from the Corpus Christi Police Department and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Nicholas Durham of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruben Perez of the Southern District of Texas.