Man pleads not guilty to federal hate charge in killing of gay man
A man charged with a federal hate crime for beating a gay man to death has pleaded not guilty.
Kelly Schneider had been set for a March trial after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in state court on Monday.
Idaho’s hate crime law does not protect on the basis of sexual orientation. He pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping robbery, theft and conspiracy charges.
He said he intended to rob his victim but that he never intended to kill him.
But he was also indicted earlier in January on the hate crime charge.
He was accused of attacking Steven Nelson because he was gay.
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According to prosecutors, Nelson was found by Schneider on the backdoor.com personals site.
After the 49-year-old was beaten, robbed and stripped, he was left, according to filings.
Nelso walked naked and barefoot in critical condition to a home half a mile away to find help.
He gave information to police before dying hours later.
Three other men in the state, Jayson Woods, 28, Kevin R Tracy, 21 and Daniel Henkel, 23 are also awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
Local prosecutors last year expressed fears that Schneider had lured other victims in the past.