San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 12th, 2008
Police investigate anti-Arab slurs scrawled inside burglarized house

Managing Editor

Police are investigating two separate potentially racially-motivated crimes in recent days that could carry enhanced sentences under the state’s “hate crime” law.

At about 11 p.m. Monday, police responded to a house burglary in the 600 block of Larue Drive and found graffiti on the walls “to the effect of ‘Go home, Arabs’ and ‘Muslims are terrorists,'” San Marcos police Cpl. John Reeder said, referencing an incident report. He did not immediately know the ethnicity or nationality of the victims.

No arrests have been made, Reeder said.

A residential burglary is normally a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. But under a 2001 law, an offender could be sentenced under guidelines for a first-degree felony if the courts determine the crime was motivated by “bias or prejudice” because of race, religion, color, sex, disability, sexual preference, age or national origin.

Police are also treating an assault early Saturday morning as a possible hate crime. At about 12:25 a.m., a 47-year-old Hispanic male said he was attacked and stuck on the sidewalk outside the Green Parrot at 124 N. LBJ Drive.

The crime could be racially motivated because the assailant, who left the scene and was not arrested, repeatedly used racial epithets before breaking away from friends trying to restrain him.

In that case, if it is prosecuted under hate crime laws, a Class A Misdemeanor conviction for assault causing bodily injury would not be elevated to a felony but carries a minimum 180 day jail sentence.

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