The following article was posted to the PQ Monthly on August 19, 2014.
Man Sent to Prison for Defending Himself from an Anti-Gay Hate Crime
By TJ Acena, PQ Monthly
Luke O’Donovan, a self-identified queer man, leaves a party and is attacked by a group of men. There are somewhere between 5 and 12 in the group, the men stomp on his head and body and stab him. Witnesses report that the men are yelling anti-gay slurs. O’Donovan has a pocket knife and manages to defend himself and escape. An hour later the police arrest him while he is being treated for his wounds. He is charged with five counts of felony aggravated assault and later one count of attempted murder. The maximum sentence he could face is 110 years in prison. None of the men who attacked him are charged with anything. O’Donovan agrees to a plea deal, two years in prison and eight years of probation. The sentencing judge, Judge Markle, thought the plea was ‘too lenient’ and added an (apparently) legal stipulation where O’Donovan is “banished” from Georgia during his probation.
That’s the story I got from a press release from O’Donovan’s support team. They have set up a website called Let Luke Go, where you can find more information about O’Donovan and how to support him. There is also a Change.org petition to have the charges against him dropped.
Obviously justice has stopped working in Georgia. Or at least in Judge Markle’s court. It’s depressing to think that LGBTQ people have a trend of being prosecuted for defending their lives from vicious attacks, the case of CeCe McDonald comes to mind, especially when you consider Georgia also has a ‘Stand your Ground’ law which seem to encourage people to protect themselves by any means necessary.
In case you were wondering why we haven’t heard a lot about this story, I’ll leave this quote from the Sacramento Bee:
O’Donovan’s case has received little media coverage in Atlanta or nationally. During the “victim impact statements” yesterday, Cheryl Mainor, mother of one of O’Donovan’s attackers, admitted to using her professional connections to suppress media stories about the case.