Man sentenced to life for murder of gay man in Detroit

A 24-year-old New York man will spend life behind bars for killing a gay man and mutilating his body.

Andrew Czarnecki was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the 2013 robbery, murder and burning of the body of Gavino Rodriguez.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway also sentenced Czarnecki to 11-20 years for armed robbery and 57 months to 11 years for the mutilation of a dead body. Carjacking charges were dropped against Czarnecki.

Rodriguez was last known to be alive July 10, 2013, authorities say. His body was found in southwest Detroit.

In sentencing Czarnecki, Hathaway said it "was pretty obvious that this defendant committed and helped someone else commit along the way an unspeakably ... horrible crime, so this is not a verdict or sentence that I have any second thoughts or reservations about at all." 

Czarnecki was found guilty Dec. 5 of the charges following a jury trial.

The case against Czarnecki was prosecuted by Wayne County Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a collaboration between the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and Fair Michigan Foundation Inc. The project helps Michigan law enforcement agencies and prosecutors solve serious crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

Fair Michigan Foundation President Dana Nessel, Michigan's attorney general-elect, said in a statement earlier this month, “This conviction in a cold-case murder of a gay man illustrates the Fair Michigan Justice Project’s resolve, in association with the Prosecutor’s Office, to investigate and vigorously prosecute serious crimes against the LGBTQ community."

Czarnecki’s co-defendant, Hameer Alkotait, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Feb. 6. His trial is scheduled for March 6.

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