Anthony Merrell Tyler, 33, pleaded guilty in federal court today to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act for his role in a 2011 racially motivated attack on a white man and an African-American woman in Marysville, Calif. Tyler’s co-defendants, Billy James Hammett, 30, and Perry Sylvester Jackson, 28, pleaded guilty to the same offense on Dec. 17, 2013.
According to documents filed with the court, around 10:45 p.m. on April 18, 2011, a white man and an African-American woman parked their car at a convenience store in Marysville. Shortly afterward, the three defendants, each of whom has white supremacist tattoos, attacked the man and woman based on race. After calling the male victim a “[racial slur]-lover,” Jackson punched him twice in the head through the open passenger window. At the same time, Hammett kicked the woman in the chest. A few seconds later, Tyler smashed the car’s windshield with a crowbar. As the attack continued, the woman managed to take refuge inside the convenience store. All three assailants then descended upon the male victim and began attacking him in the parking lot. He sustained abrasions on his right forearm and knees, while the woman suffered bruising to her chest. At the end of the incident, Tyler used a racial slur to refer to an African-American witness.
“These defendants attacked the victims simply because of race,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Jocelyn Samuels. “Such violence and intimidation have no place in our society. Where these acts occur, the Department will continue to aggressively prosecute them.”
“Diligently prosecuting hate crimes such as the unprovoked, racially motivated assault in this case has been a core mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California. “That mission will continue.”
Tyler’s sentencing is scheduled for July 8, 2014. Hammett is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2014, and Jackson has requested a sentencing date of April 22, 2014. Each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
This case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Wagner and Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains of the Civil Rights Division.