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3 Convictions for Violation of Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Fourteen years after its namesake’s murders, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is being used to hold three men accountable for hate-fueled violence in Houston.

Three defendants flush with white-supremacist tattoos were convicted Monday in Texas of hate crimes for the violent beating of an African-American man. The assault, which involved kicking and punching in the face, head and body, occurred while the victim waited for a bus in Houston in 2011, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Under Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, enacted in 2009, the assailants face up to 10 years in prison.

“We hope today’s convictions send a powerful public message,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris. “The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a tool the FBI will use to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes as felony offenses.”

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