Unfortunately I didn’t catch this before we went to press yesterday, so I wasn’t able to include it in this story, but it looks as though the two suspects in a possible recent anti-gay hate crime in far west Texas have been indicted. NewsWest 9 reports that Daniel Martinez, 46, and Kristopher Buchanan, 27, were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on charges of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and arson. Three of these four charges are first-degree felonies, meaning there is no penalty enhancement available under Texas’ hate crimes statute, so it’s unlikely that the district attorney would prosecute the case as a hate crime. However, as I reported here, the FBI plans to investigate the case and could file its own federal hate crimes charges under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. As you may have guessed, the Brewster County sheriff still hasn’t returned any of my phone calls about this case, and I have a Freedom of Information request pending with his office. I also plan to file a request with the local courts. Stay tuned.
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