Key figure admits role in suspected NY hate attack

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Associated Press

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 3:07 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The reputed leader of a New York City street gang has pleaded guilty in a beating authorities called one of the worst cases of anti-gay violence in the city's history.

Idelfonso Mendez admitted Thursday to gang assault, but not to any hate crime charges. He agreed to a 14-year prison term.

The 26-year-old Mendez and several other men were accused of beating and torturing two teenagers and a man in 2010 because authorities say the attackers believed the victims were gay. Five others also have pleaded guilty.

Mendez said he took "full responsibility for everything that happened," though he said he was high on drugs when police questioned him and many statements attributed to him weren't true.

The Bronx district attorney's office says the victims wanted to avoid a trial.

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