Three men were sentenced to prison Monday for their involvement in beating and stabbing attacks on six people in Balboa Park following San Diego's Gay Pride Festival two months ago.
James Allen Carroll and Kenneth James Lincoln, both 24, and 18-year-old Lyonn Taz Tatum pleaded guilty Friday during the second day of a hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to order them to stand trial.
Carroll, who was sentenced to 11 years behind bars, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. He also admitted a hate crime allegation and an allegation that he wielded an aluminum baseball bat in the attacks.
Tatum was sentenced to an eight-year term following his guilty pleas to assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. He also admitted that he personally used a knife in the attacks, as well as a hate crime allegation.
Lincoln received a 32-month term after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact for shaving Tatum's head and putting tattoos on him in an effort to conceal his identity.
Lincoln has a 2002 conviction for domestic battery.
A 15-year-old boy also charged in connection with the July 29 attacks pleaded guilty last week to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with hate crime allegations and also admitted causing great bodily injury to one of the six victims. The juvenile faces up to 13 years in custody when he is sentenced Oct. 4.
One of the victims, Paul Mullins, said he felt a "sense of vengeance" after he was hit once in the head and once in shoulder with the bat.
"I also felt isolated and alone," Mullins told Judge Frederick Maguire.
The victim, who had just moved to San Diego from Ohio, said he was "sad and disappointed" that after five men were beaten in the park, none of the defendants stepped in to put a stop to the violence.
Mullins said he followed the suspects, lost track of them, then saw two people beating and kicking a person on the El Prado Bridge.
"At no point did they say, `What we've done in wrong,"' Mullins said. "At no point did they say, `Oh my God, what did we just do?"'
The defendants walked five blocks back to Lincoln's First Avenue apartment and bragged about the attacks, Mullins said.
The victim said he was also angry with the defendants because he now had to go in front of a Juvenile Court judge and talk about the teen "monster" who participated in the beatings.
"I'm disappointed in the mess you've left here," Mullins said. "This is what you've done to my life."
Outside court, Mullins said he was satisfied with the punishment handed out.
He said he didn't know the other victims, including one who picked up a stick and tried to fend out his attackers, but all tried to do the right thing.
"We stood up and fought back, and that's the message I want the gay people in San Diego to remember," Mullins said outside court. "I'm very proud of them."
Lincoln said the defendants were friends and belonged to a group called "Low Lifes." He said he is also part of an anti-discrimination group.
"I've never had any problems with homosexuals," Lincoln said.
He said he helped Tatum shave his head only after Tatum had already shaved it.
Lincoln's attorney, Don Levine, said his client's participation in the attacks was peripheral.
"Mr. Lincoln did not conspire to hurt anyone," Levine said.
Even though he disagreed with the prosecution's version of events, Lincoln pleaded guilty to take advantage of the plea deal, the attorney said.
Tatum's attorney, Al Arena, said his client wanted to plead guilty at the first available opportunity, so as "not to put the victims through trauma a second time."
Ricardo Garcia, Carroll's attorney, said his client came from a good family in Texas and wanted to apologize for "anything that occurred that day."
Mullins and two other victims testified that they were beaten and stabbed by men dressed in black as they left the gay pride celebration about 10:45 p.m.
The most seriously injured victim, Oscar Foster, was hit in the head and upper body 10 to 12 times with the aluminum bat. He recently was discharged from the hospital after undergoing facial reconstructive surgery, Garcia said.
Mullins testified that he was hit twice by a man who broke away from a larger group in Redwood Circle, an area known as a place where gay men gather.
"When I was being attacked I said, `Why are you attacking me? What did I do to you?"' Mullins testified.
The victim said he pulled out his cell phone to call 911, then saw the man with the bat hit a person sitting on a nearby bench.
"He fell off the bench and he hit him again," Mullins testified.
The witness said he followed the two assailants through part of the park, saw them beating and kicking a person in the bushes near the El Prado Bridge, and heard one of the attackers yell an anti-gay epithet.
San Diego police Detective Kim Robinson said a witness told him that she went with friends the night of the attacks to Lincoln's apartment, which was located about 10 minutes away.
The witness said she overheard three people in the apartment talking about "going out to rob some people" and saw Tatum playing with a knife in the apartment before putting the weapon in his pocket.
She said Carroll returned later, sweaty and with his T-shirt ripped, saying he'd "smashed somebody in the head with a baseball bat" and the person might be "dead," the detective testified.
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