Wednesday, May 14, 2014

U.S. Attorney Announces First Hate Crime Indictment Under Matthew Shepard And James Byrd, Jr. Act

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

click to enlarge U.S. District Attorney Wendy Olson announces the first hate crime indictment in Idaho under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • U.S. District Attorney Wendy Olson announces the first hate crime indictment in Idaho under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.


Two Boise men have been indicted for a federal hate crime—the first such indictment in the District of Idaho under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.

Jonathan Henery, 28, and Beau Hansen, 30, were indicted May 13 for their alleged racially motivated assault on an African-American man, identified by the initials "D.L." The assault took place Oct. 20, 2013, at The Torch II Lounge. According to U.S. District Attorney Wendy Olson and Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson, police officers responding to the incident recognized the assault as being motivated by the victim's perceived race and color.

"From the first responding patrol officers to the detectives, officers realized quickly this case was a major crime, a civil rights violation, not just a battery, that demanded the attention of our federal partners," Masterson said in a news release following the announcement.

Masterson told reporters at the announcement of the indictment that the burden of proof in cases being investigated under the hate crimes act is high, and that his department, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI, took between two-and-a-half to three months to conclude, but that the indictment makes it clear that such crimes are not tolerated in Idaho.

"This is a message being sent back to our community," Masterson said at the press conference.

If Henery and Hansen are found guilty, they could face up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The last time Olson's office prosecuted a federal hate crime was in the summer of 2009, shortly before the current hate crime law was signed by President Barack Obama.

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