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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 46
Federal hate crime sentence in Capitol Hill attack
Section One
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Federal hate crime sentence in Capitol Hill attack

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on November 9 that a man convicted on federal hate crimes charges has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

In a plea agreement, Troy Deacon Burns admitted to assaulting three men near Harvard Avenue and E. Pike Street on January 25. He faced up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the DOJ, Burns was on Capitol Hill to sell meth, when he encountered three Gay men walking down the street.

Burns admitted to coming up behind the three men and shouting homophobic slurs. He then produced a knife and raised it over his head in a stabbing position.

The men fled, but Burns caught one of the men and attempted to stab him. One of the other men then intervened and pulled his companion away.

The third man located Seattle police officers who took Burns into custody.

While detained in the police car, Burns continued to yell homophobic slurs. During the plea hearing, Burns said he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the assault and claimed that he did not remember what had occurred.

The case was investigated by the Seattle Police Department and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Miyake of the Western District of Washington and Trial Attorney Saeed Mody of DOJ's Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case with the assistance of the King County Prosecutor's Office.

The FBI and DOJ got involved in the case because Burns's knife was acquired through interstate commerce, thereby opening the case to federal jurisdiction. Burns was charged under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

'The Department of Justice will continue to vigilantly protect the rights of victims who are targeted simply because of their sexual orientation,' said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta. 'Six years have passed since the enactment of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and it continues to serve as an important tool for federal law enforcement.'

'No one should have to fear attack because of their sexual orientation when they walk down the streets of the cities and towns in Western Washington,' said U.S. Attorney Hayes. 'The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to working closely with the Civil Rights Division to ensure cases like this are prosecuted and that the common decency that is at the heart of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is respected by all.'

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