SACRAMENTO, CA - Federal prosecutors have brought hate crime charges against three Yuba County men in an alleged 2011 attack on a black woman and a white man.
Arrested Tuesday were Billy James Hammett, 28 and Perry Sylvester Jackson , 27, both of Marysville, and Anthony Merrell Tyler, 32, of Olivehurst.
The trio face two counts of violating the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act by causing bodily injury motivated by a person's real or perceived race, color, sexual orientation or religion and one count of conspiracy.
According to the indictment, on April 18, 2011, the men approached a car in a convenience store parking lot in Marysville that was occupied by an African-American woman behind the wheel, and two passengers, a white man and a second African-American woman. The indictment alleges Jackson called the man a "n----- lover" and Hammett said a derogatory racial term to the driver. Then Hammett hit and kicked the driver while Jackson punched the man as he sat in the car and again when he pulled the man out of the car. Tyler took a crowbar to the car's windshield.
Hammett and Jackson entered not guilty pleas at their arraignment Tuesday. Tyler was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face up to 10 years in prison on each of the hate crime counts and a $250,000 fine, and up to five years on the conspiracy charge and a $250,000 fine.