South Boston brothers plead guilty to brazen beating
It was not enough for two South Boston brothers to urinate on a sleeping homeless man in August. They punched him repeatedly, and beat him with a metal pole. They called him a “wetback.”
Then they high-fived each other and walked away.
On Monday, the brothers — Scott Leader, 38, and Steven Leader, 30 — pleaded guilty to several felony charges in the unprovoked attack, including assault and battery, intimidation, and civil rights violations.
Scott Leader, who prosecutors said has a history of hate crimes against minorities, was sentenced to three years in state prison. Steven Leader was sentenced to at least two years behind bars.
Both sentences are followed by three years of probation.
The Dorchester attack drew national attention because of its random cruelty and explicit nature. Prosecutors said the men beat 58-year-old Guillermo Rodriguez because they thought he was an illegal immigrant. Scott Leader told police the violence was acceptable because the victim was homeless and Hispanic.
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Scott Leader said after the attack, according to authorities.
In a mostly empty Boston courtroom, Suffolk Superior Court Justice Peter B. Krupp denounced the attack as “cowardly and despicable.”
Suffolk County prosecutor Nicole Rimar said the incident “was an unprovoked attack on a sleeping man based completely off racial hostility.”
Rimar asked Krupp to deliver a harsher sentence, citing Scott Leader’s history of racially motivated assaults. He berated a Middle Eastern man after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and in 2005 harassed a group of Asian-Americans, Rimar said.
“The history of Scott Leader’s attitudes towards others is troubling,” Rimar said.
When the brothers were arrested, they said police only arrest white men and “never the minorities,” and said the witness who reported the attack was “a rat,” Rimar said.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said the unprovoked attack “disgusted every prosecutor, victim advocate, and trooper who worked on it.”
Rodriguez, who was sleeping outside of a Dorchester MBTA stop when he was attacked, sustained broken ribs, fingers, and other injuries.
“I cannot understand why they did this to me,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I did not do anything to them and did not even know them.”
He still feels pain throughout his body from the attack, he said.
“I have heard that they did this because of political rhetoric,” Rodriguez said. “I came to this country many years ago and worked hard in the farm fields to provide produce to people here. I actually became a permanent resident of this country years ago although if I had been undocumented, I still would not have deserved to have been beaten in this way.”
Krupp ordered that both men attend diversity and cultural sensitivity training when they are released from prison. They must also perform 20 hours of community service.
Defense attorneys for the Leaders said the men regret the attack, but declined to comment further. Each of the men has a young daughter, and were active in their lives before their arrest.
Trump has made illegal immigration a central focus of his presidential campaign and has pledged to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. He has made disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants that critics feared could incite a backlash.
When he was told of the assault in August, Trump said “it would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again.”