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Peter Lemkin
11-21-2010, 04:59 PM
....or should I have said 1931-2?


New Mexico: Three Men Indicted for Branding Swastika on Navajo Man
18th November 2010


By Sue Major Holmes | Canadian Press | November 12, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three white New Mexico men accused of branding a swastika on a mentally challenged Navajo man’s arm using a heated metal clothes hanger have been indicted by federal grand jury on hate-crime charges.

Prosecutors said the defendants also shaved a swastika on the back of the 22-year-old man’s head and used markers to write “KKK” — referring to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan — and “White Power” on him.

Justice Department officials said Paul Beebe, 26, William Hatch, 29, and Jesse Sanford, 25, face charges of conspiracy and violating a federal hate-crimes act in the April incident in Farmington, in northwestern New Mexico.

The indictment says the three made a cellphone video in which the Navajo man, who has significant cognitive impairment, purportedly consented to the branding.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said Friday the hate crime prosecution is the first in New Mexico since the federal law was enacted last October.

“We’re definitely breaking new ground,” he said.

The allegations against the trio fit “squarely within the federal statute,” which is aimed at protecting people from being victimized for “who they are or what they are,” Gonzales said.

Telephone messages for attorneys representing Beebe and Hatch were not immediately returned. A court website did not list an attorney for Sanford.

The federal hate crimes law calls for a maximum sentence of 10 years upon conviction, but Gonzales said that could be “substantially higher” if federal prosecutors prove the offence included kidnapping. Prosecutors would have to prove the victim was confined against his will and that the conduct was motivated by racial hate, he said.

Beebe, Hatch and Sanford also face state charges.

Gonzales said the federal and state cases will run parallel to each other and that his office will work with the district attorney in Farmington.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5j2tuZCmJOpIy3vogYYXHl6302h4A?docId=5115241
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Federal prosecutors apply 2009 hate-crime act to local case
Print Email Font ResizeFederal prosecutors apply 2009 hate-crime act to local case
By Elizabeth Piazza The Daily Times
Posted: 11/12/2010 11:12:20 PM MST

FARMINGTON — A federal grand jury in Albuquerque indicted on hate-crime charges, the three Farmington men accused of branding a swastika on an American Indian man with mental disabilities, In what may be a national ground-breaking case.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales announced Friday that a federal grand jury indicted Paul Beebe, 27, William Hatch, 29, and Jesse Sanford, 25, who are accused of branding a swastika on the arm of Vincent Kee, a member of the Navajo Nation. The federal prosecution will use the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in what the first known application since President Barack Obama signed the act into law Oct. 22, 2009, federal officials said.

The men face one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the act, also referred to as the Matthew Shepard Act, Gonzales stated in a release.

"It's a young man who was victimized simply because of him happening to be Native American, and that is precisely the kind of conduct the statute sets out to address and criminalize," Gonzales said in a phone interview Friday. "Obviously that is intolerable for any group of people, whether it is people who have certain religious beliefs, people just based on their nationality, even their sexual orientation. Those are the things protected under this particular statute."

No one asked for this case to occur here, he said, but "it did and it happens to fit within the scope of the statute."

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd
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Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is an expansion of the 1969 federal hate-crime law and includes crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The act was named after two men who were brutally murdered in separate incidents in 1998 because of their sexual orientation and race.

Following an "exhaustive investigation," the U.S. Attorney's office filed the recent charges nearly seven months after the April 29 incident, Gonzales said.

"We try to be very careful and judicious about what it is we charge," Gonzales said Friday. "This is a new statute and we're trying to be especially careful in how we apply this statute for the first time. We investigated the case thoroughly before we brought charges."

The federal case will proceed alongside the state case, where the men face charges of first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping, third-degree felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and fourth-degree felony conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, filed by District Attorney Rick Tedrow.

"It's been a cooperative effort through the seven-month period," Gonzales said. "That case is running and we anticipate that remaining the same as we move ours forward at the same time."

The District Attorney's Office also is pursuing hate-crime charges against the three men, which could enhance each charge by an additional year in prison.

The state's hate-crime element, however, focuses primarily on the victim's mental disability, in addition to his race, something the federal case does not.

"The statute does protect people who have disabilities, but, and here is where I want to be clear, we do not allege that in this particular case," Gonzales said. "The three individuals are not charged with targeting this individual, the victim, because of any disability he might have."

The case is solely based on his race, Gonzales said.

"Defendants Beebe, Hatch and Sanford took advantage of (Kee's) cognitive disability to induce him to make a video in which he asked to be branded, doing so in an effort to make their racially motivated assault of (Kee) appear to be a consensual act. This video was labeled The Agreement,'" according to federal court records.

The federal charges could, however, speed up the state case.

"Since the (U.S. Attorney) has taken this step, it's certainly likely the defendants will want to resolve the state case faster," Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said.

The District Attorney's case is pending the outcome of competency hearing for two of the three men, Sanford and Beebe. Also, Chief District Judge John Dean on Wednesday gave Hatch's attorney, Eric Morrow, 15 additional days to provide more evidence to prove the victim is incompetent to testify based on his disability, based on an Oct. 22 motion.

Beebe, Hatch and Sanford are accused of fashioning a wire hanger in the shape of a swastika to burn the 22-year-old victim's flesh, shaving a swastika symbol on the back of his head and drawing degrading pictures and words on his body with a permanent marker during an April 29 incident.

The men are believed to be associated with the white supremacist movement because of "various Nazi memorabilia and other items symbolizing white pride in (Beebe's) apartment, including but not limited to a large swastika flag mounted on a wall, a woven symbol called a dream catcher with a swastika hanging above his bed and a baseball bat with a swastika painted on it," according to court records.

The defendants contend the incident was consensual.

The men face 10 years for the federal charges, although there is a potential sentencing enhancement that would apply if there is a finding kidnapping was involved, Gonzales said.

They face more than 35 years in prison if convicted on the state charges.

An arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 22 in Albuquerque. Trials likely will begin in the spring, Gonzales said.

"We feel very confident in our case," Gonzales said. "We brought it because we feel we have sufficient evidence to convict all three of these individuals. We look forward to trying our case and actually presenting our evidence to a jury."


Elizabeth Piazza: epiazza@daily-times.com