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2 Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM
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2 Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime

By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011  
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Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to a lurid crime that earned New Mexico unwanted headlines: The racially motivated branding and marking of a developmentally disabled Navajo man.

The case became the first in the nation prosecuted under a beefed-up federal hate crimes law that is being challenged on constitutional grounds here and elsewhere. All three men involved in the crime already have pleaded or been found guilty in state District Court to other charges related to the incident.

The victim, 23-year-old Vincent Kee, waited outside the courtroom Thursday while his mother and other family members watched defendant Paul Beebe admit committing a hate crime and agree to an 8 1/2-year prison sentence. At the same hearing, Jesse Sanford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a hate crime, which could net him up to five years in federal prison.

At a news conference afterward, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said the third defendant, William Hatch, had entered a guilty plea earlier in the year and also faces up to five years in federal custody. No sentencing dates are set. Two of the three earlier pleaded to charges in state District Court and the third was found guilty by a jury.

Beebe's plea says "V.K." came into the McDonald's restaurant where all three men worked looking for a place to stay. Beebe offered to let him stay at his apartment and took him there after work. The victim fell asleep on Beebe's couch, and Beebe was joined by Sanford and Hatch after their shifts.

"I have a set of house rules that requires that if anybody falls asleep before 2 a.m. then we are allowed to draw on them," according to the language of Beebe's plea. Since Kee had violated the rules, "Hatch and I began drawing on V.K.'s face and neck" - Hatch using a black marker and Sanford using a blue one.

According to the federal indictment, in Beebe's Farmington apartment - furnished in Nazi-themed memorabilia and "white pride" items - the three used a heated coat hanger to burn a swastika on Kee's arm. They filmed their handiwork using a cellphone while telling Kee they were applying "Native Pride" and feathers.

Kee woke up during the drawing, and Hatch gave him a haircut that included a swastika enclosed in a circle, but no one told the victim what was there, according to the plea document. Hatch also shaved Kee's eyebrows and drew a single thick one in their place.

"V.K. had a child-like fascination with my many tattoos, and he asked if I could tattoo him," the plea agreement says. The men used the video to coerce Kee "to ‘ask' to be branded so that our racially motivated assault appeared to be consensual."

Beebe sat Kee down in a kitchen chair with a towel in his mouth and used the stove to heat a hanger shaped into a half swastika, which he twice applied to Kee's bare right arm, Beebe says in the admission of facts. Beebe acknowledges that the injuries were intentionally caused because of Kee's race, color and national origin.

The guilty pleas were entered conditionally so the constitutionality of the statute raised by the defense can proceed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Chief U.S. District Judge Bruce Black, in an Aug. 21 opinion, found the law to be constitutional.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who called the facts of the case "shocking to the conscience," said the defacement and exploitation of the victim underscore the need for aggressive national enforcement of the law.

When he came into the federal courthouse in Albuquerque, Kee wore a fetish necklace with carved thunderbirds, bears and other animals in turquoise, mother-of-pearl and jasper made by his mother, jeweler Bernice Silversmith. By the end of the day, Kee had presented the necklace to Fara Gold, a lawyer in Justice's Civil Rights Division who prosecuted the men with colleague Gerald Hogan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto Ortega.

"She was given this gift by the victim. It was poignant to sit there and observe that," Perez said.



by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM
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Replies (1-6):
Radarma
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Is there a discussion here or are you just posting to make certain races look bad?

What do you call that? Oh, that's right, you call it "race baiting".

 

sweet-a-kins
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:25 PM

WTH are you barking about now??

In a group called NO COLOR BOUNDARIES, I think its important to highlight their ARE boundaries out there

Quoting Radarma:

Is there a discussion here or are you just posting to make certain races look bad?

What do you call that? Oh, that's right, you call it "race baiting".

 


JezebelKel
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Why is it ok for you to post crap about Black America and then when someone posts something like this..you get combative? Dar..you've made your bed and your reputation follows you(something I wouldn't be proud of).  I was very interested in your thoughts until I joined a group in which almost the entire board was lit up with your race crap.  It's obvious you're obsessed but you are so blinded by your obsession you can't see the views of others and instead resort to nasty, combative responses.  Children do better debating than you do at times.

Ignore it if Sweets bothers you.

Quoting Radarma:

Is there a discussion here or are you just posting to make certain races look bad?

What do you call that? Oh, that's right, you call it "race baiting".

 


Radarma
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Awww, sweets and JBel should go bowling.

 

JezebelKel
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Another combative Dar response...

I'm bored with trying to talk some sense into you.  It is a waste of time.

It's friday, I'm a mom with an empty nest because my kids are away at college and I'm headed out with friends to the Yacht Club.

Enjoy your hyperbole you've got going on.  It's been fun to kill some time.

Quoting Radarma:

Awww, sweets and JBel should go bowling.

 


sweet-a-kins
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:53 PM
We would

And we would not smile at you too


Quoting Radarma:

Awww, sweets and JBel should go bowling.


 


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