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Man sentenced in gay rights advocate’s fatal stabbing

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of a man described as a pioneering gay rights advocate in Virginia.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports 56-year-old James M. Wheeler told the judge Friday that he didn’t intend to kill 67-year-old Bruce M. Garnett in March 2017. Wheeler pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Prosecutor Melissa Hoy said Wheeler and Garnett had known each other for 20 years, and had a relationship. She said Wheeler told investigators he was defending himself from Garnett during a dispute that turned physical.

Defense attorney Wayne Morgan said his client was remorseful, and commended Chesterfield police for their investigation.

Garnett helped form Richmond’s Gay Rights Association and was credited as the first openly gay man to lobby the General Assembly.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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