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Gay Beating Victim Testifies at Hearing

Still unable to work, actor says he doesn't know if his sexual orientation led to attack.

January 16, 2003|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

Beating victim Trev Broudy told a judge Wednesday that he has been unable to read, think clearly or work since being attacked just after hugging a friend on a West Hollywood street in September.

The 34-year-old actor testified that he doesn't remember anything about the attack and said later that he still can't imagine why he was beaten and doesn't know if it was because he is gay. "I don't understand to this day why they would bash me in the head," he said outside court.

Broudy, who spent nearly six weeks in the hospital after the assault, testified at a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for the three men charged in his attack to face trial. The preliminary hearing began Tuesday in a Beverly Hills courtroom and is scheduled to wrap up today.

Larry Walker, 29, his brother Vincent Dotson, 18, and Torwin Sessions, 19, are charged with attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery. If convicted, Sessions could be sentenced to state prison for 20 years; Walker, 16 years; and Dotson, six. Sessions and Walker have prior robbery convictions.

The case drew wide attention as a possible hate crime, and Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's decision not to file such charges led to criticism by gay rights activists, West Hollywood city leaders and even Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn.

Prosecutors said they made the decision because there was no evidence that the victims' sexual orientation was the motivation for the attack. Sessions said in a jailhouse interview that he and his friends didn't know the victims were gay.

Broudy was assaulted just outside his apartment on Cynthia Street on Sept. 1 after hugging his friend, Edward Ulett. Broudy suffered head injuries and was hospitalized until Oct. 10, his mother said. Ulett was hit in the arm, but escaped serious injury.

Ulett, who finished testifying Wednesday, said the attack began when a car pulled up near them and a man came out with a baseball bat. Ulett, while on the stand, also identified Sessions as one of the attackers, but acknowledged he made no positive identifications during police lineups shortly after the crime.

Broudy, during his 15 minutes of testimony Wednesday, spoke in broken sentences, often losing his train of thought and having trouble remembering words. The voice-over artist said that as a result of the beating, he lost 50% of vision in both eyes and had to stop driving and working.

He remains in daily rehabilitation, but told the judge he didn't think he was making much progress, still struggling to read and remember what he has written. Broudy, who wore a baseball cap through his testimony, said he is scheduled to undergo surgery this month to put a plate on his head where the left side of his skull is missing.

Outside court, Broudy said that seeing the defendants in court was difficult. "I try not to think of them as human beings, and so it doesn't bother me as much when I think of them as animals," he said after wiping tears from his eyes.

Broudy's mother, Joy Verner, who attended the hearing, said later that her son will never be the same. "He's terribly frustrated," she said. "He's terribly depressed that he will never get things back to how they were."

Giovanni Fiol, who witnessed the attack, also testified Wednesday that he saw one man beating Broudy with a bat and another man hitting him with a pipe before they both jumped in a getaway car. "They were both going at it nonstop," he said.

Fiol said that Broudy was bleeding profusely after the men left. Fiol acknowledged on cross-examination that he was not able to identify any of the defendants in police lineups.

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