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Long Beach men charged in Halloween hate crime accept plea deal

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The case of two Long Beach men charged with assault in the hate crime beating of two gay men last Halloween came to an early close Thursday, just days before their trial was scheduled to begin.

The defendants, Marquise Anton Lucas, 19, and Sierus Lamar Dunbar, 27, both pleaded no contest to felony assault, and were sentenced by Judge Gary Ferrari to six years and four years, respectively.

Lucas pleaded to the most serious charge, including two counts of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and a hate crime allegation; he received six years in state prison where he will have to serve 85 percent of his time before he can be paroled, Deputy District Attorney Bob Hight said.

Dunbar pleaded to a count of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and admitted his prison priors, meaning he will serve his four-year term in county custody and can be given credit for time already served, calculated by the court to be 182 days.

In addition to their jail and prison terms, Lucas and Dunbar were also ordered to pay more than $2,400 each to the most seriously injured victim. Neither man can appeal his conviction.

Had the pair gone to trial and convicted on all counts, Lucas faced at least 11 years in prison and Dunbar faced at least nine years in prison, Hight said.

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