Prosecutors have charged a Northmoor parolee with a hate crime for allegedly beating an African-American man who tried to break up a fight between the parolee and his father.
By MARK MORRIS
The Kansas City Star
Albert L. Strutton Jr., 27, who recently was released from prison after serving a sentence for assaulting a law enforcement officer, also has been returned to prison pending a review of whether he violated parole.
Allegations in Platte County court records showed charges against him for domestic assault for the beating of his father and third-degree assault as a hate crime for punching another man because of his race.
“Missouri’s hate crime statute provides longer prison terms for assaulting someone because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a written statement.
The assaults purportedly occurred Feb. 16 at a home in the 5100 block of Northwest Waukomis Drive, according to court records. The occasion was a cookout to celebrate Strutton’s release from prison.
Strutton’s father, who pressed charges against his son, told police that after he complimented the work ethic of a party guest who was African-American, his son spoke a racial insult and punched him three times.
The African-American man told an investigator that he saw the fight and tried to break it up. Strutton hit him in the head, saying “that he was going to kill his family,” court records allege.
Other witnesses told the investigator that Strutton hurled an obscene racial slur at the African-American man and “picked up a log and came after him and stating to him that he was going to slit his throat,” court records allege.
When police arrested Strutton on Feb. 18, he denied being in a fight, saying the witnesses were telling stories to have him sent back to prison.
“He stated his eyes were swollen because he got poison ivy,” an officer reported.
Witnesses described Strutton as a “skinhead” with Nazi tattoos, according to court records.
In 2004, Strutton was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. The criminal charges stemmed from a September 2003 incident in which he stole a DVD from a Wal-Mart and led police on a car chase.
In addition to any additional time for allegedly violating his parole, Strutton could receive up to 15 years for domestic assault and seven years for the hate crime assault, if convicted.
The Star’s Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report. To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.