Victim of gay bashing granted reparations, attackers up for parole

In what he described as an emotional roller coaster,a victim of a brutal gay bashing is facing a good news-bad news situation. After more than three years, D.J. Bell’s request to the Crime Victims Reparation to pay for injuries he sustained during an assault in his Salt Lake City home has been granted. But, just moments after hearing the good news, he found out his attackers will be up for parole at the end of the month.

After being brutally beaten, Bell endured a grueling trial where he was accused of kidnapping. He was later acquitted on all counts and the jury called the trial a “travesty.” His original accusers went on to be tried, found guilty and sentenced. Bell said the attackers used gay slurs and attacked him and his partner in their home because they are gay. Even after being acquitted and having his attackers sentenced, Bell was denied funds from the CVR. Bell said he was originally denied his request because representatives told him that he brought the attack upon himself.

But after more than three years, Bell was told he will be awarded the funds for medical expenses, lost wages and lost or damaged property.

“It just comes as a huge relief,” Bell said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to finally just have this part of it finished.”

Bell’s attackers, Ricky Ian Peace, 34; Leti David Mageo, 33; and letitaia Tavita Nuusila, 27, were sentenced in May to serve zero to five years in prison for aggravated assault, aggravated robbery and rioting. All three will attend a parole hearing on Sept. 29.

“It’s so sad that just three months after their sentencing they’re up for parole,” Bell said. “And while usually the first parole is denied, I am so sad that we have to do this all again.”

Bell is drafting a letter to be read at the parole hearing requesting that the attackers not be released.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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