WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced that Charles Cannon, 26, Michael McLaughlin, 41, and Brian Kerstetter, 33, were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt in Houston for their racially motivated assault of a 29-year-old African-American man.
Kerstetter was sentenced to 77 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Cannon was sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. And McLaughlin was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
On April 16, 2012, a federal jury found the defendants guilty of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was enacted in October 2009. The evidence at trial established that on Aug. 13, 2011, the defendants approached the victim, who was waiting at a bus stop in downtown Houston. All three defendants were shirtless to display their tattoos known to reflect white supremacist beliefs. To further antagonize the victim, at least one defendant referred to the victim using a racial slur, and the defendants then surrounded and attacked the victim by punching and kicking him in the face, head and body. The defendants were arrested at the scene after a passerby called 911.
- 3 whites get prison for beating black man at downtown bus stop – Houston Chronicle (chron.com)
- Black inmate accused of hate crime against whites (wwltv.com)
- 3 sentenced in August beating of black man (mysanantonio.com)