DENVER - A 20-year-old man has pleaded guilty in connection with the beating of two gay men outside a Denver hookah bar last fall.
Tilo Sandoval pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of felony menacing. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 28 in Denver court and faces up to nine years in prison, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney's Office. Sandoval originally was charged with two counts of assault and a committing bias-motivated crime.
A badly beaten victim, Jared R. Olson, 23, said the man who attacked him and a friend was part of a group that shouted gay slurs at them in the parking lot of Sam's Hookah Lounge at 2370 W. Alameda Ave. in the early morning hours of Sept. 2.
Olson said the man followed him and two friends as they got in their car. He then pulled open the door to the back seat where Olsen and his friend, who's also gay, were seated. The attacker repeatedly punched Olson in the face and also struck his friend. The male friend who was in the driver's seat was not harmed.
The attack left Olsen covered in blood, with broken bones in his face that required reconstructive surgery. He also had several teeth knocked out or chipped.
"I didn't think that I looked that bad, until my mother had taken the picture and shown me," Olson told 7NEWS.
"I didn't think it would ever happen to me. I thought people were more sensible than that in this day in age," he added. "I just remember looking over, and looking up at the guy and getting hit square in the face right here. And you can clearly tell my nose is like over here," said Olson.
Sandoval surrendered to police on Sept. 10, a day after police issued a warrant for his arrest.