Three Yuba County men have been arrested on federal hate crime charges for what authorities allege was a racially motivated attack on an African American woman and a white man in Marysville in April 2011.
Billy James Hammett, 28, and Perry Sylvester Jackson, 27, both of Marysville, were arrested today and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd. Both entered not-guilty pleas, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. They are scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on Jan. 29.
The third man, Anthony Merrell Tyler, 32, of Olivehurst, surrendered today in Sacramento and is to be arraigned Wednesday.
The men were charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Sacramento and unsealed today. They are charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Shepard-Byrd Act criminalizes certain acts of physical violence causing bodily injury that are motivated by a person's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
The indictment alleges that when an African American woman accompanied by a white man drove into the parking lot of a convenience store, Jackson referred to the man with a racial remark. Hammett then allegedly approached the driver's side of the car, using a racial epithet to refer to the African American driver, while Jackson and Tyler attacked from the other side of the car.
The indictment further alleges that Hammett and Jackson punched and kicked the driver, an African American woman, and the the passenger, a white man, and that Tyler smashed the car windshield with a crowbar.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yuba County Sheriff's Office and the Yuba County District Attorney's Office.