Two Oklahoma Men Plead Guilty to Racially-Motivated Hate Crime
The Department of Justice announced today that two men, Devan Nathanial Johnson, 28, and Brandon Wayne Killian, 31, pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
On Jan. 18, 2022, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Oklahoma returned a two-count Indictment charging both defendants, who are white, with physically assaulting a Black man — as well as the Black man’s white friend — in the parking lot of the Brickhouse Saloon in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The indictment alleges that the assault occurred because of the Black man’s race and color.
According to statements made before District Judge Bernard Jones at the plea hearings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma this week, both defendants admitted to assaulting the Black man in the parking lot of the bar on June 22, 2019, because the man was Black. The assault resulted in bodily injury to the victim.
“These two defendants are being held accountable for subjecting a Black man to a brutal and racially motivated assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Convictions like these make clear that the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who violently assault others because of their race or the color of their skin.”
“The defendants targeted a Black victim for a brutal attack simply because of the color of his skin,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma. “Hate-fueled criminal conduct is morally reprehensible and can never be acceptable in a civilized society. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to combat all hate crimes.”
“Violent acts of hate and racism have no place in our community and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Division. “The FBI will continue to use all authority granted to us by federal law to investigate crimes motivated by bias, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
At sentencing, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for the violation. Both defendants will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of their crime.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Troester and Special Agent in Charge Gray made the announcement.
The FBI Oklahoma City Field Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Barry for the Western District Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Avner Shapiro of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.