Lowndes County man beaten in hate crime

| February 22, 2016


LOWNDES CO. – A Lowndes County man was reportedly attacked last week while he was dressed as a woman; one person has been arrested for battery in the incident.

Octaveous Merritt, 20, sometimes dresses as a woman and goes by the name Livian. Merritt had planned a to meet an old friend for dinner, but he was reportedly ambushed by the friend and two other men who demanded oral sex instead. When Merritt refused, he was beaten.

Merritt reportedly suffered a fractured jaw and eye socket and punctured and collapsed lungs, according to an account of the incident on a webpage established to raise funds for Merritt’s hospital bills.

Merritt told WALB one of the men pulled out a gun and forced him to perform a sexual act.

Deion White has been arrested in connection with the incident and charged with battery, reports WALB. He is currently out on bond.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident as a hate crime and has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said LCSO Capt. Stryde Jones.

White is the only person that has been arrested, but more charges are possible as the investigation continues.

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