An Australian man was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison Tuesday for the 1988 murder of an American who fell off a Sydney cliff that was known as a gay meeting place.
The death of mathematician Scott Johnson was initially called a suicide, but his family pressed for further investigation. A coroner in 2017 found a number of assaults, some fatal, where the victims had been targeted because they were thought to be gay.
Scott White, 51, pleaded guilty in January and could have been sentenced to up to life in prison.
Justice Helen Wilson said she did not find beyond reasonable doubt that the murder was a gay hate crime, an aggravating factor that would have led to a longer sentence. She also said she applied more lenient sentencing patterns in place in New South Wales state in the late 1980s.
He must serve at least eight years and three months in prison before he can be considered for parole.