Idaho man pleads guilty to hate crime death

Kelly Schnieder

A 23 year old man in Boise, Idaho, USA has pleaded guilty to violently assaulting another man because of his sexual orientation, ultimately causing his death.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has confirmed that they have charged Kelly Schnieder of Nampa with the April 2016 beating of Steven Nelson. ┬áThe victim was targeted because of his sexuality.

Local news has reported that according to a plea agreement with prosecutors, Schneider posted a solicitation for sex on website with a shirtless photo of himself.

Nelson responded to the ad, and the two met the next evening. Schneider took Nelson’s money without doing any sexual activity.

“Before the encounter, Schneider told his friends that he was not gay and would not let anyone who was gay touch him,” the official press release said.

Two days later Schneider contacted Nelson a second time. Schneider had recruited others to help him rob Nelson again at that point. He planned to meet Nelson at a remote wildlife refuge, then agree to meet for sex. Instead, he planned to rob Nelson while his companions waited nearby to help in the crime if required.

The court documents say when Nelson showed up, Schneider began beating Nelson  kicking him 20-30 times with steel-toed boots and repeatedly saying homophobic slurs.

According to Schneider in the plea agreement, no one else assaulted Nelson. Nelson, who did not resist the attack, died from his injuries later that day.

Schneider pleaded guilty to first-degree murder back in January. His sentencing for a federal hate crime – willful assault based on sexual orientation – is set for April 26.

The charge is punishable by up to life in prison, supervised release of not more than five years and a $250,000 fine.

After Nelson’s death LGBT advocates launched a campaign to ensure that Schneider was charged under the US’s federal gate crime legislation. The case has also highlighted that state laws offer little protection to LGBT people who are embarrassed because of their sexuality.


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