SANTA ANA HISPANIC MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HATE CRIMES AGAINST AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAN

For Immediate Release
June 23, 2006
Contact: Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 292-2718 Cell

 

SANTA ANA HISPANIC MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HATE CRIMES AGAINST AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MAN

SANTA ANA – A Hispanic man convicted of hate crimes against an African-American man in Santa Ana was sentenced today to 10 years in prison.   Abel Castaneda, 39, was sentenced by Judge Marc Kelly for assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement, and criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Castaneda first approached Steve Lawson, 42, of Anaheim, while the victim was waiting for his car to be repaired outside of Menchaca’s Auto Repair in Santa Ana.   Castaneda was on his bike and approached the victim, who was talking on his cell phone.  He got off his bike and began screaming racial slurs at the victim and threatening to kill him, as well as lunging at him repeatedly with a knife.  The defendant called Mr. Lawson the “N” word more than 30 times.  The victim was able to get the knife away from Castaneda, who then fled the scene.  The police arrested Castaneda two days later.

“Hate crimes differ from conventional crimes in that they target an entire community.   The victim in this case was targeted solely for the color of his skin,” said Deputy District Attorney Scott Steiner, who prosecuted the case.  “This sentence sends a strong message that Orange County will not tolerate people who commit racially motivated crimes.  This is a case where the victim continues to be tremendously impacted by the defendant’s actions.  It is gratifying to see justice done.”

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