Two Men Plead Guilty to Palm Springs Hate Attack - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

Two Men Plead Guilty to Palm Springs Hate Attack

Posted: Updated:
PALM SPRINGS, Ca. -

Two men pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges for attacking a married gay couple in Palm Springs who both ended up hospitalized as a result of the hate crime.

Christopher James Carr, 31, and Keith Edward Terranova, 36, admitted assaulting George and Christopher Zander in a Palm Springs parking lot on the night of Nov. 1, 2015.

Carr pleaded guilty to assault and admitted a hate crime allegation and was immediately sentenced to four years in state prison, while Terranova pleaded guilty to assault and received a three-year probationary term.

The plea agreements were reached as their trial date neared.

Deputy District Attorney Arthur C. Hester said both sides ``reached an agreement that we felt was fair to everyone involved.''

Palm Springs police said the Zanders were confronted and beaten up because of their sexual orientation. According to Lt. Mike Kovaleff, the victims walked past one of the two defendants on South Calle Encilia about 8:40 p.m. and words were exchanged, including a homophobic remark.

The victims continued walking to the parking lot at the corner of South Calle Encilia and East Tahquitz Canyon Way, where they were confronted by the men, who attacked them and then fled in a car, the lieutenant said.

Witnesses testified at a June 2016 preliminary hearing that Christopher Zander was punched in the face by Carr and sustained injuries to the back of his head when he hit the ground, while George Zander was thrown or pushed to the ground by Terranova, who was also accused of threatening the men with a tire iron.
 

Chris Zander suffered a serious cut to the back of his head that required staples, and his 71-year-old husband suffered a broken hip that required surgery, authorities said.

Terranova turned himself in at the Palm Springs Police Station on Nov. 11, 2015, while Carr was arrested about 2 1/2 weeks later in Desert Hot Springs.

Since the arrests, several charges initially filed were stricken, including a hate crime allegation for Terranova and elder abuse charges for Carr.

At the preliminary hearing, witness testimony pointed to Carr making the homophobic statements, but no such evidence could be found for Terranova.

His attorney, Christopher DeSalva, argued that Terranova only accompanied Carr to the parking lot after receiving a phone call, in which Carr claimed he had been attacked by a group of men.

``Whatever occurred, which is unclear, occurred as to Mr. Terranova not because of sexual orientation of anyone, but simply because he is coming to the said of a friend who had called him telling him he had been jumped,'' DeSalva said at the hearing.

Carr's attorney, Dennette McIntyre, argued then that the prosecution had not shown a strong enough connection between the impetus for the fight and the motivations behind a hate crime.

``I think derogatory statements are made when you're in a fight. I think that's a reasonable conclusion. I think Mr. Carr got jumped the first time around, and whether he did call Mr. Terranova for a little revenge or not, I do think that's what the evidence has supported,'' McIntyre said.

George Zander died on Dec. 10, 2015, at Desert Regional Medical Center, though any connection between his injuries and his death could not be definitively determined.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Joshua Tree National Park

    EXCLUSIVE: Parents of Joshua Tree Hiker Found Dead Say Son Killed Friend and Himself to End Suffering

    EXCLUSIVE: Parents of Joshua Tree Hiker Found Dead Say Son Killed Friend and Himself to End Suffering

    Friday, October 20 2017 11:33 PM EDT2017-10-21 03:33:37 GMT

    The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department told Joseph Orbeso's parents Gilbert and Corina Mallari, their son shot his friend Rachel Nguyen and then killed himself. The couple had been missing since July after going for a hike in Joshua Tree. They say they were shocked at the lack of context in the release because it made it look like the killing was premeditated. They say the sheriff's department told them their son did it to put an end to their suffering and ar...

    The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department told Joseph Orbeso's parents Gilbert and Corina Mallari, their son shot his friend Rachel Nguyen and then killed himself. The couple had been missing since July after going for a hike in Joshua Tree. They say they were shocked at the lack of context in the release because it made it look like the killing was premeditated. They say the sheriff's department told them their son did it to put an end to their suffering and ar...

  • Joshua Tree National Park

    Autopsy Reveals Death of Missing Joshua Tree Hikers as Murder-Suicide

    Autopsy Reveals Death of Missing Joshua Tree Hikers as Murder-Suicide

    Friday, October 20 2017 2:40 PM EDT2017-10-20 18:40:14 GMT

    Two bodies are found in Joshua Tree National Park Sunday. They were found around 11:30 Sunday morning by search-and-rescue hikers just a mile or two from the park entrance.

    Two bodies are found in Joshua Tree National Park Sunday. They were found around 11:30 Sunday morning by search-and-rescue hikers just a mile or two from the park entrance.

  • Desert Hot Springs

    Woman Fatally Shot in Desert Hot Springs

    Woman Fatally Shot in Desert Hot Springs

    Friday, October 20 2017 2:36 PM EDT2017-10-20 18:36:00 GMT

    A woman who was shot and wounded Thursday night in Desert Hot Springs was taken to a Wells Fargo bank parking lot in Palm Springs before help was called. 

    A woman who was shot and wounded Thursday night in Desert Hot Springs was taken to a Wells Fargo bank parking lot in Palm Springs before help was called. 

Powered by Frankly