Man pleads guilty to anti-gay hate crime attack in Ravenswood

CHICAGO — The man accused of attacking a gay couple as they walked home from a night out in Ravenswood pleaded guilty to felony hate crime Thursday, according to court records.

James Murray, 33, entered a plea deal with prosecutors that resulted in a sentence of two years probation from Judge Laura Ayala-Gonzalez. The judge ordered Murray to complete anger management counseling, perform 50 hours of community service, and donate $1,000 “to a non-profit LGBTQ+ organization,” the court file said.

The victim, who was 57 at the time, his husband, and another gay couple were saying their goodbyes outside Redline VR, 4702 North Ravenswood, when they noticed Murray and another man approaching them, apparently intoxicated, around 11 p.m. on September 17, 2022.

James Murray (Chicago Police Department, Google)

After the couples went their separate ways, the victim and his husband heard someone yell at them as they stopped to look at a house they once considered buying, prosecutors said.

They turned around and saw Murray running across the street in their direction. Prosecutors said Murray “made a windmill motion” and hit the 57-year-old in the head.

“What are you doing?” the victim asked.

“You guys are gay as hell,” Murray allegedly replied.

According to prosecutors, a woman walking home from work witnessed the attack and called 911.

Meanwhile, a man who had been walking with Murray earlier arrived on the scene, pushed the victim’s husband in the chest, then ran back across the street, yelling “f*ggots” as the attack continued.

The victim and his husband grappled with Murray, who continued to yell “f**got” and tell the men they were “gay as hell” and “gay as f**k” while punching the 57-year-old in the chest and breaking one of his ribs, prosecutors said. And, although the couple is White, Murray referred to them as “n****rs,” prosecutors alleged.

The couple pinned Murray, who allegedly told the men to “get your d*cks off of me,” until police arrived.

When the victims told police that they believed a hate crime had occurred, Murray allegedly said he didn’t know that they were gay and he “just likes hitting people,” prosecutors said during an initial court appearance.

Police did not arrest the man who was allegedly with Murray before and during the incident.

Prosecutors dropped three counts of aggravated battery and an additional hate crime charge in Murray’s plea agreement.

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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com