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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Petition calls for hate crime charges in murder of gay Idaho man

BOISE – The group “Better Idaho” delivered petitions with more than 1,500 signatures Thursday to U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson calling for federal hate crime charges to be filed against the four men accused of beating Steven Nelson to death. Nelson, 49, was robbed, stripped, kicked and beaten and left for dead; he died a few hours later at a hospital.

Jordan Brady, research director for Better Idaho, a web-based nonprofit that bills itself as “a communications shop for progressive ideas,” said, “Steven’s death wasn’t a robbery gone wrong, and it wasn’t an accident. It was a group of people who chose to rob, humiliate, and brutally murder someone who was hand-picked because of their sexual orientation.” He also called for amending Idaho’s state hate crime law to cover crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, which currently aren’t covered.

Olson told The Spokesman-Review her office will be reviewing the FBI’s findings in the case to determine whether to bring charges under the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. “The FBI and my office are going to give this a good, hard look, and I’m confident we’ll get to the best decision for the facts of the case,” she said.

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