(NEW YORK, NY) -- The ninth suspect has surrendered in the New York City case against alleged gang members accused of beating three people they thought were gay. Prosecutors say the nine suspects, whose ages range from late teens to early 20s, beat and tortured two teens and a 30-year-old man over a three day period beginning October third, in a vacant home in the Bronx.
The nine are all charged with hate crimes and as adults. The charges include robbery, assault, unlawful imprisonment and criminal sex acts. Police say the victims were assaulted with a plunger handle and a baseball bat, cut with box cutters and burned with cigarettes and lighters. The suspects, who are all believed to be members of the Latin King Goonies gang, apparently thought the two 17-year-old victims were gay. The teen victims were gang recruits and prosecutors say the suspects thought the 30-year-old had been involved with one of the two recruits.
Defense lawyers said in court Monday the suspects' actions were not gang-related, claiming the men were all just partying together.
Eight of the suspects were quickly arrested and arraigned over the weekend but the ninth had eluded police while officials tried to arrange a surrender. Twenty-two-year-old Ruddy Vargas-Perez was finally arrested late Monday in the Bronx after someone tipped off police he was there.
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