Friday, March 15, 2013

Hate Crimes: Aryan Brotherhood member gets more than five years on hate crime charge

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON—John Hall, 27, an Aryan Brotherhood member and inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Seagoville, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor after pleading guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, stemming from his assault of a fellow inmate, whom he believed to be gay, the Department of Justice announced. Hall assaulted his fellow inmate with a dangerous weapon, causing bodily injury to the victim on December 20, 2011. Hall was sentenced to serve 71 months in prison, to be served consecutively with the sentence he is currently serving.

The assault occurred on December 20, 2011, inside the FCI Seagoville when Hall targeted and attacked the victim, a fellow inmate, because he believed the victim was gay or involved in a sexual relationship with another male inmate. Hall repeatedly punched, kicked, and stomped on the victim’s face with his shod feet, a dangerous weapon, while yelling a homophobic slur. The victim lost consciousness during the assault and suffered multiple lacerations to his face. The victim also sustained a fractured eye socket, lost a tooth, fractured other teeth, and was treated at a hospital for the injuries he sustained during Hall’s unprovoked attack. Hall pleaded guilty to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act on November 8, 2012.

“Brutality and violence based on sexual orientation has no place in a civilized society,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts motivated by hate.”

“This prosecution sends a clear message that this office, in partnership with attorneys in the department’s Civil Rights Division, will prioritize and aggressively prosecute hate crimes and others civil rights violations in North Texas,” said U.S. Attorney Sarah R. SaldaƱa of the Northern District of Texas.

This case was investigated by the FBI Dallas Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Errin Martin and Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco of the Civil Rights Division.