Gay basher seeks early release from prison

Edward F. Gosner mugshot
Edward F. Gosner.

Edward F. Gosner, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for brutally assaulting a gay man in 2019, is seeking an early release from prison.

Five years ago, Gosner assaulted Michael Dozon at the Bucks County Correctional Facility in Doylestown, Pa., where both men were incarcerated. A Bucks County judge sentenced Gosner to seven years in state prison. However, Gosner recently appealed his sentence in Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Gosner isn’t eligible for release until December 2027. But if his appeal is successful, he could be released on parole much sooner, with credit for time served.

On Oct. 13, 2019, Gosner brutally assaulted Dozon at the Bucks County Correctional Facility in Doylestown. Gosner threatened to “fuck [Dozon] up” and told him that “faggots shouldn’t live,” according to court records.

Additionally, Gosner told Dozon “it’s not right to be gay,” and called Dozon homophobic slurs. Dozon retreated to a closet, where he obtained a hose and sprayed Gosner with water. As Dozon tried to flee, Gosner attacked him from behind. Dozon curled up in a ball, while Gosner punched and kneed him 15 times and kicked him in the head, according to court records.

More than five correctional officers responded to the assault, according to court records.

On July 14, 2021, a one-day trial was held for Gosner, with Bucks County Common Pleas Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. presiding. Bateman adjudicated Gosner guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

In a subsequent court filing, Bateman gave several reasons for the sentence. Those reasons include: Gosner had six prior convictions for assault-related behavior; Gosner attacked Dozon from behind; Gosner kneed and kicked Dozon multiple times in the head; Gosner exhibited a lack of remorse; and Gosner blamed Dozon for the altercation rather than accepting responsibility for his actions.

Bateman also said Gosner appeared incapable of controlling his anger, despite taking anger-management classes while incarcerated.

“Those classes did not meet [Gosner’s] needs,” Bateman wrote.

Gosner appealed his conviction in Pennsylvania Superior Court but his appeal was rejected as meritless in December 2023. In January 2024, attorneys for Gosner filed an appeal in Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Gosner’s appeal refers to the incident with Dozon as a “fight” that was escalated by Dozon.

“Mr. Gosner was having a conversation with other inmates regarding homosexuality,” Gosner’s appeal states. “Mr. Dozon, who is homosexual, began to take offense to the conversation and began defending his homosexuality. Mr Gosner and Mr. Dozon began to debate Mr. Dozon’s homosexuality, to the point where the conversation became heated.”

Dozon escalated the situation into a physical altercation by spraying Gosner with a hose, according to Gosner’s appeal. 

“Up to that point in time, Mr. Gosner had not followed nor laid a hand on inmate Dozon,” the appeal asserts.

After the altercation, Dozon declined medical treatment. Instead, Dozon merely complained of swelling in his cheek and took aspirin to treat the discomfort, according to Gosner’s appeal.

Bucks County officials declined to file an answer to Gosner’s appeal.

“We rarely file an answer to a petition for allowance of appeal,” said Manual Gamiz Jr., a spokesperson for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, noting that such appeals are rarely successful. 

In the event the Supreme Court agrees to review the matter, Bucks County officials can oppose Gosner’s appeal at that time, Gamiz added.

Patrick J. McMenamin Jr., an attorney for Gosner, advocated on behalf of his client.

“Mr. Gosner has always acknowledged that his altercation with Mr. Dozon escalated from a mutual disagreement to an assault,” McMenamin said in an email. “Gosner’s contention has been that the assault was not an aggravated assault, as he did not attempt to cause — or actually cause — serious bodily injury to Mr. Dozon, Additionally, Mr. Gosner believes that his sentence was unduly harsh and excessive, given that Mr. Dozon did not suffer any serious injury.”

Gosner remains incarcerated at a state prison in Collegeville, Pa., and couldn’t be reached for comment. As of presstime, Gosner’s appeal remained pending with the state Supreme Court.

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