Saturday, April 23, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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2 men sentenced to year for assault

Seattle Times staff reporter

David Kravchenko and Yevgeniy Savchak came to the United States from Russia, in part, to escape persecution. So it was ironic, a King County Superior Court judge said yesterday, that they were awaiting sentencing for persecuting someone else.

The two men, along with a third, were convicted in March of assault and malicious harassment — a hate crime — for an attack on a gay man last June.

Judge Jeffrey Ramsdell said the men, "fueled by alcohol, testosterone and, quite frankly, stupidity," assaulted Micah Painter solely because of his sexual orientation. The crime was serious and deserved a substantial sentence, he said.

Still, the defense attorneys said, Kravchenko, 20, and Savchak, 18, would almost certainly be deported if they were given a sentence of a year or longer.

"We're asking that you give him under a year ... so that he doesn't get a life sentence," said Savchak's attorney, Pete Connick.

Police and prosecutors say Savchak, Kravchenko and Vadim Samusenko, 21, were driving around downtown Seattle on June 27 when they saw Painter walking down the street. The three men hollered insults and slurs at Painter, prosecutors said.

When Painter, 24, responded with a rude hand gesture, Samusenko hopped out of the truck with a vodka bottle in hand, broke the bottle and attacked Painter, prosecutors said. Savchak and Kravchenko joined in the fight, prosecutors said.

All three men were found guilty of malicious harassment with a deadly weapon. Savchak and Kravchenko were also convicted of fourth-degree assault, and Samusenko was convicted of second-degree assault.

Seeking a compromise sentence that would penalize the men adequately but not force their removal from the country, Ramsdell sentenced Kravchenko and Savchak to 364 days in jail on the assault charge and 5 ½ months on the malicious-harassment charge, to be served concurrently. He also gave them a six-month mandatory jail term on the deadly-weapon enhancement to be served at the end of the nearly yearlong assault sentence.

Defense attorneys expressed concern at the end of the court hearing because they were uncertain whether that sentence, which totals more than a year, would protect the men from deportation as the judge had apparently intended. The judge said that based on his understanding of immigration rules, he thinks it will work.

Samusenko faces a likely three-year prison-term at his sentencing in May, although as a U.S. citizen he does not face deportation.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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