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Second brother sentenced in gay bashing of entertainer Austin Head

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Justice has been served on two brothers who gay-bashed activist and entertainer Austin Head last year in Phoenix.

Head is also known as the “Glamour Boy of Phoenix” and is prominently featured in the “Positive Youth” documentary, which was shown May 31, 2012 during the 14th FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival.

The 28-year-old Head is also a candidate for the Phoenix City Council. The election will be in November.

Brothers Ernie Barnes Jr., 24, and Jermon Barnes, 22, were convicted in Maricopa County Superior Court in the case that was investigated as a hate crime.

Ernie Barnes Jr., the main culprit in the attack on Head and his friend Eric Kelly, was sentenced last week to 2½ years in prison and ordered to pay Head $8,000 in restitution to go toward covering his medical expenses.

Last month, Jermon Barnes was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of “intensive probation."

The brothers screamed anti-gay slurs at Head and Kelly after they left a gay nightclub, Charlie’s, on Nov. 9, 2012. They then attacked the two gay men, with Head taking the brunt of the beating.

Head told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News in a previous article that the attacked happened so fast that he was knocked out and awoke in the hospital with serious wounds to the head.

“I suffered a head injury, an eyebrow laceration that required several stitches and two fractures around my eye - a lateral orbit fracture and maxillary sinus fracture,” Head said.

Kelly assisted police detectives in identifying two suspects.

Head testified in court against two suspects. “I spoke in court for the first hearing where the Barnes' pled guilty and wrote a letter to the court detailing the experience and injuries for the sentencing hearing,” Head said.

Prosecutors successfully argued that the attack was a gay-bashing, and Judge Robert Gottsfield used Arizona’s bias crime law to hand down harsher sentencing for both brothers.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.