Thursday, February 12, 2015

Defense atty in Omaha gay-bashing hate crime case says it was just a bar fight; client "didn't even know" anyone was gay

UPDATE: 5-man, 7-woman jury renders its verdict!

Ryan Langenegger and his assailant, James Duncan, of
Kansas City. Duncan is accused of felonious assault on a gay
hate crime charge, Omaha's first. Duncan's attorney, James
Martin Davis admits his client attacked Langenegger, who did
not retaliate, but said the altercation was simply a "bar fight"
between two heterosexuals, not a hate crime and that Joshua
Foo posted pictures of a bloodied Langenegger to create a
"false sense" of what happened.
One of Omaha's slickest defense attorneys, James Martin Davis, worked the cameras Monday and Tuesday to spin the actions of his client, James Duncan, on the night last fall that he sucker-punched straight Marine Ryan Langenegger outside the Old Market Pepperjax.
     Duncan, who has worked in Omaha as a sales manager for a construction and roofing company, is from Kansas City.
     Defense Attorney Davis repeatedly insisted it was all just a bar fight (even though Langenegger hit no one) between two heterosexuals and therefore can't possibly be an antigay hate crime.
     Langenegger was with two friends, Joshua Foo and Jacob Gellinger, who was in drag at the time.
     Accused gay-basher Duncan was with two of his buds, attorney Paul Larson and Joey Adriano, who is said to have been the instigator of the confrontation outside Pepperjax. Adriano now says he was so wasted that he cannot remember being there at all. At trial, Adriano admitted to being a blackout drunk.
     Duncan said he was protecting Adriano when he punched Langenegger between the eyes so hard that blood covered his face.
     Prosecutors have a problem with that contention: they say Duncan was 90 pounds heavier and 10 inches taller than Langenegger and wasn't just "protecting" his friend, according to Channel 3's Jake Wasikowski.
     Langenegger, who only had two beers, who appeared to be the least drunk of the six men involved, and remembers utterances that both his friend, Gellinger, and his antagonist, Adriano, do not.
     Langenegger said Adriano used "faggot" and racist slurs to refer to his friends, called him an "expletive associated with female genitalia" then repeated the gay slur.
     Duncan insisted he was not homophobic and claimed he had no idea that Jacob Gellinger — who is 6'7" in high heels — was a man dressed as a woman, 
     Defense attorney Davis accused Langenegger of inventing utterances from his friend sounded like they came "from a Julia Roberts movie" and then suggested to the jury that Adriano said "perverts" not "faggots."
WOWT video screencap
This is part of an agenda... To the ordinary person, the people involved in this, two men and a woman, didn't appear to be homosexual or gay at all. And there was nothing about their appearance that would indicate that my client could even recognize them as being gay or homosexual. I mean, you had one, you had two men dressed in male apparel and one was apparently straight and one was homosexual but you couldn't tell that. And the other one was a woman. Appeared to all respects as a woman. She was dressed as a woman... I don't know, other than being tall, there wasn't any indication that this wasn't a woman... When they walked out, what they saw caused them to comment but it didn't have anything to do with them being gay; it had to do with what appeared to be sexual activity taking place outside — heterosexual activity. I'm not going to get into that for TV... This is just an ordinary third-degree assault, if that.
     From the World-Herald:
     Davis even suggested that Adriano may have made the “you’re disgusting” comment because he mistook what Gellinger and friend Joshua Foo were doing outside the Pepperjax restaurant.
     Foo was crouched down, helping Gellinger put on his high heels, Langenegger said. Davis suggested that Adriano could have mistaken that scene for a sex act. Davis also suggested that Adriano yelled “perverts” instead of “faggots.”
     Langenegger was incredulous.
     “I don’t know how putting on a shoe would look like sex,” Langenegger said.
     Davis: “You have a lady with her legs up and a man (at her feet). ... Doesn’t it look like sex on a sidewalk?”
     “No,” Langenegger said.
     He paused.
     “I suppose he could be proposing,” he said, drawing laughs from the jury.
The prosecution called "ridiculous" the supposition that Foo and Gelinger, who are gay friends but not romantically involved, could have been mistaken for a heterosexual couple having sex on the sidewalk in the Old Market at bar-closing time.

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