Man changes plea to guilty in federal hate charge in killing of gay man
A man charged with a federal hate crime for beating a gay man to death has changed his plea to guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence.
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 to which he initially pleaded not guilty.
Schneider has now changed his plea to guilty, in exchange for a 28 year prison sentence, rather than life.
Documents filed on Wednesday in US District Court on Wednesday detailed that Scheider posted online to solicit the meet-up with Steven Nelson.
In the documents, he admits stripping Nelson’s clothes, assaulting him and stealing his car.
He was accused of attacking 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.
Nelson 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.