Two Florida white men were sentenced in federal court on Wednesday for hate crime charges after their racially-motivated ax attack against a Black man in Citrus Springs.
According to the Justice Department, Roy Lashley, 56, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and his brother, Robert Lashley, 52, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for their racial attack on a Black man in a dollar store.
“The brutal attack against the victim, in this case, was motivated by hate and bigotry,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “Because of the great determination and cooperation between our federal and local law enforcement partners, we were able to bring these callous criminals to justice.”
In their plea deals, the two men admitted to their hate crimes. On Nov. 17, 2021, they traveled to the Family Dollar in Citrus Springs, where the victim was shopping inside. Roy Lashley repeatedly used racial slurs inside the store about the victim. Both Roy and Robert Lashley then followed the victim into the parking lot. Once outside the store, Robert Lashley ran to the victim and hit him numerous times. Roy Lashley then attacked the victim multiple times with an ax he had retrieved from his vehicle.
According to the DOJ, the victim sustained painful injuries to his face and legs, including a laceration to the inside of his mouth.
The Lashley brothers also admitted that they willfully caused bodily injury to the victim and acted because he was Black. They both also hurled racist slurs at the man during the entire attack.
“Driven by bigotry and hate, the defendants brutally assaulted a Black man for no other reason than his race,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Racially-motivated violence is abhorrent, unlawful, and has no place in America today. Aggressive prosecution of hate crimes is a top priority for the Civil Rights Division, and these sentences should send a message to others who would carry out similar acts of violence that they will be brought to justice.”
The Justice Department also reassured the public that they take hate crimes very seriously and are continuing to pursue justice in that matter.
“Civil rights investigations are at the heart of what we do at the FBI,” Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks of the FBI Jacksonville Field Office. “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim; they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. Because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating hate crimes is among the FBI’s highest priorities, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek justice for victims and their communities.”
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