A federal judge handed an Idaho man a 28-year prison sentence for the murder of a gay man.
Kelly Schneider, 23, was sentenced on April 27 in U.S. District Court. He was prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“Kelly Schneider assaulted and killed a man because of the man’s sexual orientation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wheeler, in a news release. “This is a federal crime, and the Department of Justice will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to enforce our federal hate crimes laws.”
Schneider was convicted of the brutal murder of Steven Nelson, who he met after posting a solicitation for sex on the website backpage.com. Schneider asked Nelson to drive him to a secluded wildlife refuge near Lake Lowell for a sexual encounter but instead attacked Nelson, kicking him to death with steel-toed boots.
Before meeting Nelson, Schneider told friends he was not gay and would not let gay people touch him.
As reported by the Idaho Statesman, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Lucoff told the judge “Serious criminal punishment represents society’s strong condemnation of what the offender has done.”
In addition to the 28-year prison sentence, Schneider received five years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in January for violating the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Schneider was charged in federal court because Idaho does not recognize sexual orientation as a motivating factor to commit malicious harassment.