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article image240-year Sentence for NYC Hate Crime

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 22, 2007 in Crime
A Judge gives a man 240 years sentence for a hate crime in 2002, three men were wounded.
A judge sentenced a man to 240 years in prison Wednesday for taking hostages in a bar and telling patrons that "white people are going to burn tonight."
State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley told Steven Johnson, 39, who is black, that he had forfeited his "right to live in society."
Steven Johnson lived in the Brooklyn housing project, was unhappy with the mistreatment of blacks so he wanted to go after "happy" white people to avenge the mistreatment. So he went to "Bar Veloce" in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood, carrying three pistols, a samurai sword and a container of kerosene. There were nine men and six women inside the bar on that day June 16, 2002.
He shot and wounded three people, including one police officer. Also, he sprayed kerosene on the the customers and intimidated them by trying to set them on fire. While he was doing this, two women bravely caught Johnson off guard and tackled him, and the policeman shot him.
Johnson declined to speak at the trial. Defense lawyer Michele Galernt requested the judge to consider Johnson's diagnosed mental disorders and also said he had been a sexually abused child. The victims and their supporters were also at the court during sentencing.
Johnson was a fool for what he did. But I don't know about the sentencing 240 years seem excessive and impractical. What do you think about the sentencing?
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