PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Delaware County, Pa. man who was convicted of an anti-gay hate crime in 1994 and then fled before sentencing, got a break today at his long-delayed sentencing.

Patrick Groce and a codefendant were convicted of beating, punching, and kicking a man at 13th and Lombard Street because they thought he was gay.

The victim says the attack ruined his life.

But today, Groce got a work-release sentence of 11½ to 23 months, and Judge Harold Kane cited Groce’s clean record during the 16 years while he was a fugitive.

Prosecutor Vince Regan argued for a longer sentence.

“The other defendant in this case got 4½ to nine years,” Regan said following the sentencing.  “The guideline in this case called for a sentence of approximately two to four years.  My postion in the case was that this defendant should not have been rewarded for fleeing at sentencing and instead should have been sentenced to the guidelines.”

Croce, now with a wife and three children, was discovered living in Delaware County after a DUI arrest last Feburary.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060

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