Yorkville, IL -
Marquitte West, 18, was sentenced to two years in prison for a hate crime related to sexual orientation after being part of a gang that brutally assaulted Bryce Stiff, 29 for being gay last June. Both are from Oswego, IL.
West was part of a group of four and alleged to be the gang leader who jumped Stiff not far from his home. Two others, Robert Franklin and Jabari Tuggles, also of Oswego, are awaiting trial and a third is being sought.
Stiff was severely beaten in the incident and left with nerve damage to his face and legs and required reconstructive surgery on his lip. He has also dealt with psychological problems since the attack.
"I used to be a happy, caring and loving person who would do anything to help anyone," Stiff, 29, wrote to the court prior to West's sentencing. "I was happy about me being gay … but now I'm filled with so much bitterness, hatred and I'm very depressed. I don't like leaving my home. I don't like doing things that excite me anymore. I feel like everyone is out to get me."
West will serve the two year sentence in conjunction with a theft charge and has also been ordered to pay Stiff's medical costs.
Kendall County State's Attorney Robert Dore said this is the first prosecution for a hate crime that he is aware of in the county's history.