THREE WHITE SUPREMACISTS MEN SENTENCED TO STATE PRISON FOR HATE CRIME ATTACK OF HISPANIC MAN IN ALLEY

For Immediate Release
Case # 09WF1385

 

December 18, 2009

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

THREE WHITE SUPREMACISTS MEN SENTENCED TO STATE PRISON FOR HATE CRIME ATTACK OF HISPANIC MAN IN ALLEY

*Charges are pending against a female co-defendant in this case

 

WESTMINSTER – Three white supremacists were convicted today of stabbing and attempting to murder a Hispanic man after driving through his neighborhood and targeting him based on his ethnicity. A fourth co-defendant still faces charges in this case. Bret MacDonald Hicks, 30, Riverside, Michael Aaron Powell, 21, Anaheim, and Brian Charles Hanson, 27, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, hate crime battery causing injury, and admitted to the sentencing enhancement for committing a hate crime in concert with others.

 

Hicks also admitted to sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury. He has two prior convictions for vehicle theft in 1998 and committing a hate crime in 2005. He was sentenced to a court offer of 10 years in state prison over the objection of the People, who advocated for a sentence of 15 to 17 years in prison based on his prior hate crime conviction.

 

Powell admitted to an additional sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime. The term “crime-bail-crime” denotes that, at the time of the crime, the defendant was out of custody on bail for another pending felony criminal case. Powell was out of custody on an unrelated aggravated assault gang case (Case # 08WF2359) at the time of the hate crime. He was sentenced to a court offer of five years in state prison over the objection of the People, who advocated for 10 years based on the circumstances of this case. The gang case against Powell is scheduled for jury trial Jan. 28, 2010, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

Hanson has five prior strike convictions for robbery in 1999 and robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and two attempted robberies in 2000. He was sentenced to a court offer of 11 years and eight months in state prison, over the objection of the People, who advocated for a life sentence based on the defendant’s five prior strike convictions.

 

Co-defendant Erin Lee Brooks, 25, Costa Mesa, is charged with one felony count each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and hate crime battery causing injury. She faces a sentencing enhancement for committing a hate crime in concert with others and has a 2005 prior strike conviction for accessory after the fact. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 23 years and eight months in state prison. Brooks is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 7, 2010, in Department W-14, West Justice Center, Westminster.

 

The defendants have been identified as white supremacists through white supremacist tattoos. At approximately 11:50 p.m. on July 3, 2009, the three male co-defendants drove down a residential alley in a red pick-up truck in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood with the intention of attacking a random Hispanic victim. Brooks is accused of being with the three men. When the defendants observed victim Sergio Hernandez outside of a home speaking with friends, they suddenly stopped the truck. Hicks, Powell, and Hanson got out of the vehicle, ran to the victim, and began to attack him by punching, kicking, and stabbing him.