High court upholds hate-crime conviction in Omaha case

Marine punched for associating with gay friends. (File photo)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the hate-crime conviction and 12- to 18-month prison sentence of a Missouri man who sucker-punched a Marine for associating with two gay friends.

The ruling stems from the October 2013 attack on Ryan Langenegger, who told police he was punched in the face in Omaha's Old Market. Prosecutors say Gregory Duncan, of Kansas City, and two other men had hurled slurs at Langenegger' friends — one in drag — before the attack. Officials say Langenegger was telling one of the men that he and his friends "just want to go home" when Duncan punched him in the face, unprovoked.

The high court Friday upheld a Douglas County judge's finding that prosecutors had shown Duncan targeted Langenegger because he was associated with gay people.

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The Gayly - 4/15/2016 @ 11:32 a.m. CDT