Charges have been dropped against the third suspect in a brutal gay-bashing in East Texas last year.
The Paris News reports that charges were dropped against Daniel Shawn Martin, 33, because Martin was not present at the Halloween party where the beating of 26-year-old Burke Burnett took place.
“We had a number of witnesses who came forward to say Martin was not there, and it was confirmed he was not involved,” Lamar County District Attorney Gary Young told the newspaper. “Also the victim confirmed Martin was not the assailant.”
Martin was one of three suspects charged in Burnett’s beating on Oct. 30 at a Halloween party in Reno, just east of Paris and 100 miles northeast of Dallas.
Burnett, who’s gay, suffered second-degree burns and needed more than 30 stitches. He said his attackers yelled anti-gay slurs as they sucker-punched him in the eye, stabbed him in the back and arm with a broken beer bottle, and threw him onto a lit burn barrel. The case made national news after graphic photos of Burnett’s injuries were posted on Dallas Voice’s website.
James Mitchell Laster, 33, was sentenced to eight years in prison in February after pleading no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, including a hate crime enhancement, in the case. Micky Joe Smith, 25, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April after pleading guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, plus a hate crime enhancement.