The man who prosecutors accuse of severely beating a bisexual acquaintance with a bicycle U-lock because he didn’t want others to think he was also gay will stand trial for assault but not committing a hate crime.
After a preliminary hearing, Judge Marta Diaz held Santos Manuel Marquez-Montiagudo, 36, to answer on several felonies but not the allegation the beating was a hate crime. Instead, he returns to court Dec. 11 to enter a Superior Court plea to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force causing great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury in the attack that left the 55-year-old victim with a fractured skull, jaw, orbital bone and rib.
Defense attorney Laura Torres said she was very happy with Diaz’s ruling because, while the victim does happen to be bisexual, that was not the basis for the assault.
“This was two drunk guys who got into a fight,” she said.
Torres said even the victim was so intoxicated that on top of his injuries he has no idea what happened or what prompted the fight. The police officers were left to patch together what happened and misunderstood the statements, she said.
The hate crime allegation could have added three more years to the nine he still faces, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
It also would have properly labeled his alleged conduct, Wagstaffe said.
“It is a vile thing to do in this society,” Wagstaffe said.
Prosecutors contend Marquez-Montiagudo and another friend met up with the victim July 20 at a San Mateo taqueria where the victim shared his bisexuality. After the trio left the business to drink elsewhere, Marquez-Montiagudo told the victim not to walk by him because he didn’t want others to mistake him as gay.
When the man refused to leave, Marquez-Montiagudo grabbed the lock from his bike and began beating his head and body, according to the District Attorney’s Office. San Mateo police found the badly injured man near the 700 block of Santa Inez Avenue.
But Torres said her client is not homophobic, has many gay friends and was acting in perhaps inappropriate self-defense after the victim pushed him and ripped his shirt first.
The following Wednesday police arrived at Marquez-Montiagudo’s home on the 300 block of North Humboldt Street but he fled out a window. He was caught after a short chase. Police reported finding the U-lock used in the attack.
During the police interview, Marquez-Montiagudo made general comments in response to officers asking if he would want his family to know he was associating with a gay man but did not specifically say that was the reason for the attack, Torres said.
Marquez-Montiagudo remains in custody on a $1 million bail bond and, if freed, is prohibited from contacting his alleged victim.
He has prior convictions for domestic violence and disturbing the peace.
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