Suspect To Stand Trial in Assault, Hate Crime

By: WOWT 6 News Email
By: WOWT 6 News Email

The man charged with assault will stand trial in connection to a hate crime that occurred last October in the Old Market.

In court Wednesday, Detective Michael Curd described the events that happened October 27, 2013 in and outside of Pepperjax Grill at 12th and Howard. Curd said Duncan and two friends, Joey Adriano and Paul Larson, were eating at the restaurant, as was the victim, Ryan Langenegger, and two of his friends. Security tape shows Adriano approach Langenegger's table and say something.

Langenegger and his two friends immediately left; even leaving behind uneaten food. Detective Curd testified that Duncan, Adriano, and Larson followed the victims outside. At that point, Langenegger stepped between his male friend, who was dressed as a woman, and Adriano. Duncan, who was allegedly standing a few feet back then stepped forward and hit Langenegger. The assault left Langenegger bloodied and bruised.

On cross-examination, the defense asked the detective whether someone's sexual orientation could be determined by their appearance. Detective Curd said, "no." Defense attorney James Martin Davis then asked about pre-Halloween parties and whether it was unusual to see people dressed in costume. Davis said, "the assault was a straight construction worker hitting a straight Marine." He argues Duncan did not know Langenegger's friend was gay.

Judge Beaver said, “It certainly isn’t the strongest case but using the word ‘faggot' and referring to them (the victims) as ‘the gay people’ as well as Gellinger being in full drag; even considering the time and place, I think there is a jury question.”

The judge did reduce Duncan's bond to ten percent of $15,000, instead of $100,000, so he can post bail. Duncan will need permission to leave the state of Nebraska.

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