A gay man from Texas who was beaten at a party said Monday he's content to leave it up to the legal system to decide whether his alleged attackers should be charged with hate crimes.
Burke Burnett, 26, said the men attacked him with a broken bottle before throwing him in a fire. He suffered burns on his arms, ribs and forehead and required 30 stitches.
Burnett, who said his attackers shouted things during the assault that he couldn't repeat on air, believes his attackers knew he was gay because they all came from a small town and he is open about his homosexuality.
Three men were charged with aggravated assault in the attack at a Halloween party in Reno, Texas, on Oct 30. A grand jury will weigh whether to up the charges to a hate crime, which could mean much lengthier prison terms if convicted.
"It's not my job to decide what justice is exactly for these guys," Burnett told MSNBC TV when asked if he wanted the men charged with a hate crime. "I want to see justice served."
Burnett said he could have been killed had it not been for some women at the party who "jumped in and helped me out, helped save my life."
The attack, he added, "made me more aware that this kind of stuff still goes on. I guess I sort of forgot that there was still that much hatred."
Burke earlier told local media that he disclosed his homosexuality when he was 15, having been inspired by the story of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student tortured and killed in 1998 for being gay.