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4th man released in anti-gay attacks

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A fourth man was let go in connection with anti-gay attacks
  • Some of the victims were beaten and tortured, authorities say
  • Eleven suspects were initially arrested in the case

New York (CNN) -- A fourth suspect in a series of anti-gay beatings in New York was released Thursday, according to the Bronx district attorney's office.

Dennis Piters, 17, was let go after the district attorney's investigation showed that the evidence "didn't meet the burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," said Steven Reed, director of public information at the Bronx prosecutor's office.

Tuesday, three other men were released in connection with the case, also due to a lack of evidence, Reed said. They were identified as Brian Cepeda, Bryan Almonte and Steven Carabello, who are all 17-years-old.

The men were among 11 people arrested following attacks on three men who were held against their will by a group of assailants who beat them in an unoccupied apartment and sodomized two of them, according to police. A fourth victim was beaten and robbed in connection with the attacks, which authorities described as "torture."

Video: Arrests made in alleged hate crime
  • Hate Crimes
  • The Bronx
  • Crime

The string of attacks began when members of a street gang calling themselves the Latin King Goonies learned that an aspiring member is gay, authorities said.

Four other suspects have been indicted on charges of gang assault and other offenses, according to the Bronx district attorney's office.

Jose Dominguez, 22; Idelfonso Mendez, 23; and David Rivera, 21, were indicted Wednesday in the case by a grand jury. Twelve of the 28 counts against them were charged as hate crimes. Another man, Luis Garcia, 26, was indicted Tuesday. They all face maximum sentences of 15 years on gang assault charges and 25 years on robbery charges, the prosecutor's office said.

All of the suspects live in the Bronx, police said. Pending charges against the remaining three defendants include unlawful imprisonment, abduction, sodomy, assault, robbery, and menacing, all as hate crimes, according to the New York City police commissioner.

CNN's Angelica Bonus and Kiran Khalid contributed to this report.