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Two Oklahoma men plead guilty to hate crime for racially motivated attack in Shawnee

left to right: Devan Nathanial Johnson and Brandon Wayne Killian
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
left to right: Devan Nathanial Johnson and Brandon Wayne Killian

Two men — Devan Johnson and Brandon Killian — each pleaded guilty this week to a federal hate crime.

The Oklahomanreports it's the first time the Oklahoma City federal court is prosecuting a hate crime in more than a decade.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the existing federal hate crime law, was passed in 2009.

Johnson and Killian, who are both white, allegedly assaulted a Black man, Jarric Carolina, in the parking lot of the Brickhouse Saloon in Shawnee in June 2019. The men repeatedly punched, kicked, and stomped on Carolina, and spit and shouted racial slurs at him.

Carolina fell unconscious and needed to be hospitalized. His injuries included an eye that required medical attention at the Dean McGee Eye Institute. He also reportedly had trouble with memory and walking after the attack.

The two men also attacked another man, Monty Whittet, who is white, but he did not require medical treatment at the scene.

A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed in February, charging the two men with two-counts of committing hate crimes. The indictment alleged the assault occurred because of the Black man’s race and color.

"The defendants targeted a Black victim for a brutal attack simply because of the color of his skin," said United States Attorney Robert J. Troester. "Hate-fueled criminal conduct is morally reprehensible and can never be acceptable in a civilized society. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to combat all hate crimes."

The men have already been prosecuted in state court and each face an additional maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Both defendants will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of their crime.

Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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