Mexican National Residing in Bakersfield Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Illegal Cockfighting in Violation of the Animal Welfare Act
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Anthony Merrell Tyler, 34, of Yuba City, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to serve 46 months in prison for violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The crime involved a racially motivated attack by Tyler and two co-defendants, Billy Hammett, 30, and Perry Jackson, 29, on a white man and an African-American woman in Marysville in 2011. In addition to his term of incarceration, Tyler was ordered to serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison and to pay $175 in restitution.
According to documents filed with the court, around 10:45 p.m. on April 18, 2011, a white man and an African-American woman parked their car at a convenience store in Marysville. Shortly afterward, the three defendants attacked the man and woman because of their race. Jackson punched him twice in the head through the open passenger window. At the same time, Hammett opened the driver-side door and kicked the woman in the chest. Seconds later, Tyler smashed the car’s windshield with a crowbar, sending shattered glass into the passenger compartment. As the attack continued, the woman managed to take refuge inside the convenience store, and the man struggled to get away. All three assailants then descended upon the male victim and began attacking him in the parking lot. He sustained abrasions on his right forearm and knees, while the woman suffered bruising to her chest. None of the defendants knew the victims.
In today’s hearing, and during Hammett and Jackson’s proceedings, Judge Mendez considered the defendants’ backgrounds and criminal histories. Tyler has the words “white pride” tattooed down the backs of his arms and a swastika on his left upper arm. He has previously acknowledged being a member of the Yuba County Peckerwoods, a local white supremacist group. Hammett, who has a tattoo of the words “white power” across his abdomen, was sentenced on March 25, 2014, to 87 months in prison. He was previously convicted for the unprovoked assault on a 72-year-old African-American man. Jackson, who has the words “white power” tattooed in block letters down his shins, was sentenced on April 29, 2014, to 70 months in prison. Tyler entered his guilty plea on March 11, 2014.
“These three defendants targeted the victims because of their race,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division. “This type of attack causes harm not only to the immediate victims, but tears at the fabric of our communities and society itself. The department will continue to vigorously prosecute such acts of racial violence.”
“Racially motivated violence not only threatens the harmony of our diverse communities, it undermines the principle of equality under law, which is a foundation of our society,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California. “For these reasons, prosecuting hate crimes will continue to be one of our highest priorities.”
“No person should be victimized by another, let alone suffer an unprovoked, violent attack at the hands of a group motivated solely by hatred and prejudice,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Sacramento FBI. “Such bias-motivated crimes should be an unfortunate mark of the past; however, the FBI will thoroughly investigate such allegations to ensure justice is served.”
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office and the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Wagner and Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.