CLEARWATER, Fla. – A man accused of draping a noose around the shoulders of a black teen at a fast food restaurant was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail.
The judge also sentenced Louis Giannola IV (search), who was convicted in December of misdemeanor battery, to 10 months probation and community service. He was spared a harsher sentence because jurors declined to label the incident a hate crime (search).
In a brief statement read in court, the 20-year-old Giannola apologized to the victim and said he now understands the hurt he caused. Giannola also asked Dionte Hall and his family for forgiveness.
Giannola was arrested after he draped a noose around the neck of Hall, 15, while they and other teens were at a Wendy's restaurant in Largo in January 2004. Prosecutors contend some people Giannola was with were heard making racial slurs.
Giannola said he did not put the noose around Hall's neck out of hate but because another teen, whose own father is black, bet him $10 he wouldn't do it.