Chase McClary, 23, of Johnsonville, S.C., pleaded guilty today in federal court in the District of South Carolina to violating the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in his violent assault of an African-American teenager.
During his guilty plea, McClary admitted that in August 2010, he approached a 16-year-old African-American male and struck him numerous times with the jagged end of a broken coffee mug because of the victim’s race. The attack resulted in severe injuries to the victim’s head, face and neck.
Sentencing will be set at a later date. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 48 months in prison.
“Motivated by hate, the defendant attacked a teenager and scarred him for life. No one should have to endure such an abhorrent act of criminal violence,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute cases of bias motivated violence to the full extent of the law.”
“Prosecution of hate-based crime – whether the motive is the color of skin, sexua l orientation, religion, gender or national origin – is critical to the American way of life and the justice system,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles for the District of South Carolina. I want to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the F lorence County Sheriff’s Office and Ed Clements, the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor, for their work on this civil rights case.”
This case was investigated by Special Agent Steven Stokes of the FBI, with assistance from the Florence County Sheriff’s Investigator Alvin Powell, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Parham and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Christopher Lomax.