Idaho

Idaho man involved in fatal beating of gay man convicted

An Idaho man involved in the robbery and fatal beating of a gay man has been convicted for his role in the slaying.

A jury on Thursday found Jason Woods, 28, of Nampa guilty of first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and accepting the earnings of a prostitute. Woods is one of several people charged in the death of Steven Nelson, 49.

Woods is scheduled to be sentenced April 6.

Nelson responded to a fraudulent advertisement for a male escort and met Kelly Schneider, 23, under the impression that the younger man was a prostitute on April 27, 2016, according to court documents. Nelson paid Schneider money, but the two didn't engage in any sexual acts.

Instead, Schneider and Woods then robbed Nelson, stripped him naked, beat him, taunted him with a gay slur and left him for dead. Nelson managed to find his way to a house about a half-mile away from the beating site and get help.

Woods previously described himself as the "salesman" in the crime. He and his ex-girlfriend reportedly dropped Schneider off at his rendezvous with Nelson before the attack.

Schneider pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and federal hate-crime charges. The hate-crime charge was filed in federal court because Idaho law does not include sexual orientation and gender identity in its malicious harassment law.

Kevin Tracy and Daniel Henkel are also charged in connection to the murder. They are accused of hiding nearby in case Nelson put up a struggle. Both await trial.