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Man faces hate crime trial in SF

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Marquis Deon Joyce. Photo: Courtesy SFPD
Marquis Deon Joyce. Photo: Courtesy SFPD  

A man who's accused of repeatedly punching a gay San Francisco man is facing trial.

Marquis Deon Joyce, 24, is charged with felony counts of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury, misdemeanor battery, and hate crime and other allegations.

In a June court filing, Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias, an attorney for Joyce, said that the alleged incident started at about 3 p.m. May 6 after the victim, who'd drunk "all of the alcohol in his house," went to a liquor store at 8th Avenue and Geary Boulevard to buy more.

Joyce said that the victim approached him at a nearby bus stop and "propositioned him, offering to pay him $500 for sex," according to Elias. Joyce claimed that he repeatedly told the victim to leave, but the victim, "undeterred, approached Joyce and put his arms around him. Joyce pushed [the victim] away and punched him several times."

Elias said that "several hours later," the victim's husband came home with two co-workers and found him sleeping on the couch. The husband assumed that the victim "had once again passed out from drinking too much." After he saw blood on the victim and thought he'd "fallen or been mugged," he took him to a hospital.


Changing stories

But the victim "has provided several different versions" of what happened, Elias said.

During a May 6 interview, the victim said that he'd been smoking a cigarette at the bus stop when two men approached him.

"He claims one man approached him, calling him a faggot, and the other man took his phone and wallet," but the victim's husband told police at the hospital that the victim had lost his wallet before the incident, Elias said.

A week later, the victim said that he'd had "a brief conversation" with just one man, who'd then attacked him. He said that afterward, he'd bought more bourbon, and on his way home, "the same man approached him and took his phone," according to Elias.

Joyce was arrested June 1. Joyce claimed that on that day, "the victim was making sexual faces and blowing kisses at him on the 38 bus," Elias said. The victim said that he'd been "playing with his phone when he heard a black male say, 'I beat that guy a couple of weeks ago.'"

The victim said that Joyce then followed him off the bus and said, "You remember me, right?" punched him, and told him to leave him alone. The victim said that Joyce then punched him again. The victim called his husband and police from a nearby restaurant, Elias said, while Joyce "remained at the scene to tell his side of the story to witnesses and the police," who arrested him.

"Joyce denies making derogatory statements or stealing [the victim's] cellphone," according to Elias. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In a June 1 interview, Elias said, the victim claimed that "while Marquis was punching him, he said, 'Do you like that faggot?'" The victim also said that Joyce had taken his phone "immediately after the attack, not after purchasing bourbon from the corner store."

The next day, the victim reportedly shared yet another story, stating that he'd "asked Marquis if he wanted to drink with him." He said Joyce asked if he was gay, and when he told him that he was, "Marquis started punching him with a closed fist and asking him, 'What do you want faggot?'"

In a summary released the day after the May 6 incident, police referred to it as a robbery and gave no indication that a hate crime had occurred. The victim, who's 47, was at a bus stop when two black males in their 20s punched him, took his phone, and fled, police said.

The victim, whose name the Bay Area Reporter isn't publishing, couldn't be reached for comment.

Elias indicated in her court filing that Joyce, who faces another battery charge stemming from a previous incident, is homeless but he'd been getting help from Larkin Street Youth Services, which has many LGBT clients.

Max Szabo, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, declined to discuss details of the case but noted that earlier this month, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge John J. Garibaldi found there was sufficient evidence to hold Joyce for trial on all charges in the hate crime case.

Joyce remains in custody on $90,000 bail. His next court date is Thursday (July 27).


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