RENO, Nev. (AP) - Two men have been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stomping a homeless man to death in what authorities called an alcohol-fueled "thrill seeking attack."
The sentence was imposed Friday on Christopher Maciolek, 20, and Finley Fultz, 19, who earlier pleaded guilty to a voluntary manslaughter charge. They will be eligible for parole in four years.
James Beasley, 55, was asleep on a downtown Reno park bench in
September 2007 when the pair kicked him in the head several times and stomped on his head and torso, police said. He later died at a Reno hospital.
The two then tried to attack another pair of homeless people, but fled when a transient woman beat them with a stick, officers said.
Similar incidents of "bum bashing" by young adults or teens have been reported across the country.
"It seems to be some frightening phenomenon that has developed in our country where seriously injuring or causing the death of disadvantaged people, like the homeless, are shockingly done for entertainment or thrills," Washoe County District Judge Brent Adams said at Friday's sentencing hearing.
Prosecutor Roy Stralla said the pair wanted to take out their anger and hatred on others. Both men said they had troubled childhoods and long criminal records.
Maciolek and Fultz both asked Beasley's family to forgive them, saying they had never intended to kill him.
Beasley's family members wore memorial shirts with his picture on them. Beasley, whose alcoholism led him to life on the streets, had two children and six siblings, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
"You may have seen him as just some bum on the street, but to us he was a member of our family," said Beasley's niece, Jenell Fisher. "Now, thanks to the acts of a few heartless invididuals, he will just be a memory."
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)