CHELSEA — A man who bashed two gay men with a wooden chair after an argument at a Dallas BBQ was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday, prosecutors said.
Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin, 42, could have received between 3 1/2 and 15 years in prison after a jury in May found him guilty of assault in the attack, which took place inside the restaurant at 261 Eighth Ave., the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.
A video that went viral last year showed El-Amin using the chair to strike gay couple Jonathan Snipes, then 32, and Ethan York-Adams, then 25, at the Chelsea eatery in May 2015.
Snipes previously told investigators that El-Amin used a homophobic slur before the attack, but at El-Amin’s Thursday court appearance, he stood by his assertion that Snipes started the fight by hitting him with a purse, the New York Post reported.
El-Amin, who is gay and black, maintained race could not be factored out of the case, the paper reported.
“The incident was started by… two drunk, white men that felt they were entitled to come and swing at me for no reason,” he said, according to the Post.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Goldberg, however, said she “[did] not see that there [was] any evidence” that race was an issue in the incident, the paper said.
“When you picked up the chair, that was a criminal act, that cannot be excused,” she said, according to the Post.
The lawyer representing El-Amin last year maintained his client had been an LGBTQ activist for years prior to the Dallas BBQ incident.
El-Amin is currently being held at the George R. Vierno Center on Rikers Island, city Department of Correction records show.
His current lawyer, Percy Diego Gayanilo, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.