WASHINGTON — John Hall, 27, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville, Texas, pleaded guilty today in federal court to violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act stemming from his assault of a fellow inmate he believed to be gay, the Department of Justice announced. Hall assaulted his fellow inmate with a dangerous weapon, causing bodily injury to the victim on Dec. 20, 2011.
According to information presented during the plea hearing, Hall targeted the victim, a fellow inmate, because of the victim's perceived sexual orientation. Hall admitted that he assaulted the victim because of his perceived sexual orientation by repeatedly punching and kicking the victim while calling the victim gay slurs. The victim sustained multiple lacerations to his face, and chipped and fractured teeth as a result of Hall's unprovoked attack. The assault occurred inside the Federal Correctional Institution, which is within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
"The Justice Department continues to investigate and prosecute acts of violence targeting individuals because of their sexual orientation; this case is just another example of the department's commitment to the pursuit of justice on behalf of all people regardless of their sexual preference or orientation." said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department will continue to vigorously enforce the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and all the laws under our jurisdiction, to protect the rights of all individuals."
Hall faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for this crime.
This case was investigated by the FBI Dallas Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Errin Martin and Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco of the Civil Rights Division.