Hooks Faces Sentencing

Thomas Daugherty was sentenced to life in prison for using a bat to pummel a homeless man to death.
Now his best friend, Brian Hooks, will find out if he will face the same fate for his role in killing Norris Gaynor on Jan. 12, 2006.
Hooks, 21, will be sentenced this afternoon in Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato’s courtroom, possibly ending a tragic saga that has garnered national media attention and shed new light on the issue of violence against the homeless.
Hooks and Daugherty, 19, were convicted last month of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for attacks on three homeless men that January morning.
For much of the trial, Daugherty was fingered as the most active participant in the three attacks, using a wooden bat to terrorize and bludgeon his victims.
Hooks, however, had a more passive role, according to testimony in trial, which could allow for his sentence to differ from that of Daugherty’s.
According to testimony during trial, Hooks and Daugherty led a group of intoxicated teens to go “beat up some bums” for fun.
They first attacked Jacques Pierre as he sat on a bench at Florida Atlantic University’s downtown Fort Lauderdale campus. The attack was captured by a surveillance camera, which shows Daugherty and Hooks relentlessly attacking Pierre with baseball bats, hitting the homeless man at least seven times on or near the head.
Daugherty was seen striking Pierre once on the lower back.
The shocking video footage was released to the media just hours after the attack and was shown around the world.
Pierre, who testified during the trial, suffered skull fractures and deep lacerations.
The teens then moved on to Esplanade Park, where Daugherty found 45-year-old Gaynor sleeping on a park bench. With his hands elevated over his head, Daugherty brought his wooden bat crashing down on Gaynor’s face, smashing the man’s skull, prosecutors said.
As Daugherty bashed Gaynor with his bat, another teen, William Ammons, shot the homeless man with about a dozen pellets from his paintball gun.
On Sept. 24, Ammons was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the attack. He testified against Daugherty and Hooks at trial.
Ammons said Hooks attacked Gaynor from the side with what he thought was a children’s rake. The teens found a third homeless victim at Church By The Sea. They attacked Raymond Perez as he slept in the church’s courtyard.
Hooks carried a golf club, but never hit Perez, Ammons testified. Daugherty continued to use his bat. And Ammons attacked the man with a plastic sword given to him by Hooks.
Perez, who also testified during trial, suffered broken bones and deep lacerations.
Defense attorneys argued the boys only intended to beat up their victims, not kill them.