The attacker in a homophobic assault at a petrol station in the US city of Detroit in 2011 has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Everett Avery of Detroit admitted assaulting the victim, Justin Alesna, at a petrol station in 2011, and also admitted that he did so because he suspected that Alesna was gay.

The Justice Department says Everett Avery of Detroit was sentenced Thursday in US District Court in Detroit, reports The Detroit News.

Avery pleaded guilty to the assault back in August. 

On 7 March, 2011, the victim, Justin Alesna, was hit in the face, causing a fractured eye socket, among other facial injuries. According to the plea agreement, Everett Avery, 36, knew nothing about the victim before the attack, and only assaulted him because of his assumption that Alesna was gay.

Prior to striking the victim, Avery admitted hurling homophobic profanities, and telling him to step away. The incident took place at A BP petrol station at 9pm.

Robert Foley, of the FBI, investigating said this case should set an example to those who might commit similar crimes:

“The FBI is committed to protecting the community from those who are motivated by hate to victimize anyone as the result of their sexual orientation.”

President Barack Obama signed the US Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in 2009, which expanded federal hate crime laws to include those where the victims were targeted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability.