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California Briefing / SACRAMENTO

Mixed verdict in fatal altercation

June 19, 2008|Eric Bailey

A jury failed to convict a 22-year-old Russian immigrant of a hate crime Wednesday but found him guilty of two misdemeanors in an altercation that led to the death last year of a young Fijian man.

Aleksandr Shevchenko was found guilty of disturbing the peace and simple assault for throwing a bottle at friends of Satender Singh after the one-punch fight that left Singh brain dead.

The man accused of throwing the punch, Andre Vusik, fled the country after Singh's death in July.

Gay activists in Sacramento made the hate-crime case a cause, saying Singh was singled out because of his sexual orientation.

After a three-week trial and four days of deliberations, the jury split over what role Shevchenko played in the day of quarreling at a lakeside park in eastern Sacramento County.

Witnesses said slurs were thrown by both groups, but the anger ultimately focused on Singh, who danced provocatively with a few Fijian friends.

The prosecutor said Shevchenko used homophobic insults when he sought to challenge Singh.

Sentencing is set for July 11.

-- Eric Bailey

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