The sentencing by Judge Robert I. Richter came three months after Michael Phillips, 36, of Fairmont Heights, Md., pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon that the U.S. Attorney’s office classified as a “bias-related (hate) crime.”
In addition to 28 months of incarceration, Richter sentenced Phillips to three years of supervised probation upon his release from prison.
In a statement released on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the attack occurred at about 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2014, at a convenience store on the 900 block of Eastern Avenue, N.E. The statement says Phillips and the victim and friends of the victim were customers at the store and the two parties did not know each other prior to the incident.
“Upon seeing the victim and her friends walk into the store, Phillips stated words to the effect of, ‘Let me see who’s the real bitch here,’” the statement says. “He then pointed at the victim and made a derogatory remark about her sexuality. When the victim told Phillips to leave her alone, Phillips stated words to the effect of ‘Well you wasn’t born no female,’” according to the U.S. Attorney’s statement.
At that point words were exchanged inside the store and Phillips approached the victim, pulled a handgun from his pocket and struck the victim in the face with the gun “multiple times,” the statement says.
“At his plea hearing, Phillips admitted assaulting the victim with the handgun because of his prejudice based on her perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” says the statement.