2 El Paso teens get 10, 12 years for brutal attack outside gay nightclub; others await trial

The Old Plantation in Downtown El Paso.

Two 17-year-olds have been sentenced for their roles in a brutal beating of an El Paso man outside a gay nightclub in May, the El Paso Times reports.

Ruben Arturo Valenzuela pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison.

Esteban Alfaro was sentenced to 10 years in prison in January after a state district juvenile court found him guilty of assault.

Valenzuela and Alfaro were two of the five attackers believed to have beaten Lionel Martinez, then 22, with baseball bats outside of the Old Plantation nightclub in Downtown El Paso.

Martinez suffered severe injuries and remained in intensive care for several weeks. While he is not gay, his family wanted the assault labeled as a hate crime because the teens believed Martinez was gay. His sister, who he was waiting for at the club, witnessed the assault and told police that the teens shouted anti-gay slurs at Martinez. El Paso police linked the attack to gang violence.

Manny Portillo, 19, pleaded guilty in early April and is awaiting sentencing.

Ivan Gallardo, 18, and Roman Olvera, 20, are scheduled for trial this summer.

—  Anna Waugh

WATCH: Rally against hate in El Paso

About 30 people attended a “Fight Against Hate Crimes” rally in front of the El Paso County Courthouse on Friday, the El Paso Times reports. The rally was organized in response to a brutal attack outside the Old Plantation gay nightclub in downtown El Paso earlier this month. Four suspects have been arrested in the May 7 beating of 22-year-old Lionel Martinez, which family members say was an anti-gay hate crime. Martinez’s sister says he finally regained consciousness last Wednesday but remains in critical condition and is struggling with his memory. LGBT advocates say El Paso police haven’t done enough to address violence in the area of the Old Plantation. A fundraiser to help Martinez’s family reportedly is planned for June 5 at the nightclub.

—  John Wright