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Men plead guilty in 2015 hate crime attack on Palm Springs gay couple

Men plead guilty in 2015 hate crime attack on Palm Springs gay couple

Christopher (left) and George Zander in happier times.

Two men who attacked a gay couple in Palm Springs during Halloween weekend in 2015 have pleaded guilty. The crime may have contributed to the death of one of the victims who was a well-known gay rights activist in the area.

Christopher James Carr and Keith Edward Terranova have admitted to assaulting George and Christopher Zander near the city’s main gay nightlife district.

Carr, 31, was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading guilty to assault and admitting to committing a hate crime.  Terranova, 36, was placed on three years of probation after pleading guilty to assault.

George Zander, the more severely injured of the two, died six weeks after the attack from unknown causes. He had suffered a double hip fracture during the attack and required surgery and a several weeks-long stay at a rehabilitation facility.

Zander was one of the founding members of the Desert Stonewall Democrats and was on the Palm Springs Police Department Advisory Board at the tine of his death.

Before the sentencing on Monday (23 January), Christopher Zander posted a statement on social media against hate crimes.

‘Many of us moved here to live free of judgement and were baffled by the irony of this particular case,’ he wrote in part.

‘We all suffered a great loss with George’s passing but we also greatly benefited as we had the opportunity to experience the awakening of a community that has grown stronger than we have ever witnessed in the past and it will continue to grow infinitely.’