A man charged with a federal hate crime for beating a gay man to death has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Kelly Schneider had been set for a March trial after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in state court earlier this year.
Idaho’s hate crime law does not protect on the basis of sexual orientation. He pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping robbery, theft and conspiracy charges.
He said he intended to rob his victim but that he never intended to kill him.
But he was also indicted earlier in January on the hate crime charge.
This week, after exchanging a guilty plea for a 28-year sentence instead of life in prison, Schneider was sentenced to just that.
He was accused of attacking Steven Nelson because he was gay.
According to prosecutors, Nelson was found by Schneider on the backdoor.com personals site.
After the 49-year-old was beaten, robbed and stripped, he was left naked in freezing temperatures.
Nelson walked naked and barefoot in critical condition to a home half a mile away to find help.
He gave information to police before dying hours later.
The Idaho Statesman reports that today, Schneider stood with his head bowed as members of Nelson’s family spoke of their loss.
“You want to talk about impact on our lives?” Edgar Nelson, Steven’s brother said at the 3rd District to Judge Thomas J. Ryan.
“I don’t know where to start. After 49 years, his prints are in our lives and in our hearts everywhere.”
The victim’s brother also said he has dreams where he sees his brother being kicked to death.
“Steven wasn’t our gay brother. He was just our brother,” said sister Connie Nelson-Cleverley.
Schneider, thought his lawyer, said he wanted to apologise to the family.
“I understand that no matter what I do, I can never make right what I did wrong. … I’m not asking anybody for forgiveness, because I don’t deserve it,” he said.
Three other men in the state, Jayson Woods, 28, Kevin R Tracy, 21 and Daniel Henkel, 23 are also awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
Local prosecutors last year expressed fears that Schneider had lured other victims in the past.