The two aggressors pursued five Hispanic men who pulled out of a gas station.
The would-be assailants caught up to the men, the story went, and one white male leaned outside of the front passenger window of a truck and waived a tire wrench at the Latinos, threatening and hurling slurs at the victims. The accosting driver rammed into the victims' car repeatedly, causing the car to swerve into the opposite lane of traffic, go off the road, and crash into a tree and ignite.
As a result of the attackers' actions, the victims suffered bodily injuries; one nearly lost his life.
Those were the allegations thrown at the feet of Frankie Maybee, 20, and Sean Popejoy, 19, who were found guilty and convicted of commiting a federal hate crime and conspiring to commit a federal hate crime, the U.S. Justice Department has announced.
Maybee, who drove the vehicle, was convicted on five counts of committing a federal hate crime; Popejoy was convicted on one count of the same crime.
Maybee faces a maximum of 55 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 per violation.
“The defendants targeted five men because they were Hispanic, and today’s verdict shows that the Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting individuals who perform acts of hate because of someone’s race or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
“We will continue to use the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and every other tool in our law enforcement arsenal, to identify and prosecute hate crimes whenever they occur,” he said.
The case was the first conviction at trial for a violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was enacted in October 2009.
These young men were worthless and the community is well rid of both . A year ago last spring they forced my son to stop on a dirt road and held a gun to his head because he had Maybee's mother and her brother in his car as they were returning from fishing on long creek.
They were both drunk and when My son called the law after the fact nothing was done because the mother lied and covered up her son's actions. My son never went fishing with the two again on my advice but needless to say I am pleased that they will be behind bars for many years.