Neo-Nazi Convicted in Savage Anti-Latino Assault

Anti-Latino Violence

It was attacks like this one that hate-crimes legislation was created for.

A Latino teenager attended a party in April 2006 at a housing complex just north of Houston, in a town called Spring. According to witnesses, the 17-year-old tried to kiss a white girl. She rebuffed him and told her brother about the advance. Word spread. The extreme violence that followed illustrates the savagery that can result from this country's rising tide of anti-Hispanic hatred.

David Tuck, 18, a neo-Nazi roughneck with a reputation for racist outbursts, confronted the Latino teen, with whom he had previously consumed a cocktail of vodka, marijuana, cocaine and Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety medication, and dragged him outside. With the assistance of his friend Robert Turner, 17, Tuck then commenced a four- to five-hour beating in which the victim was stripped, kicked with steel-toed boots, and severely sodomized with a patio-umbrella pole. Finally, Tuck and Turner stood their victim against a fence and poured bleach all over his body. According to prosecutors, Tuck at one point also attempted to slash something into the semi-conscious victim's chest and burned him with cigarettes. Witnesses say Tuck yelled ethnic slurs and shouted, "White power!" during the attack.

The victim did not receive medical attention until the morning, when the woman who owned the apartment awoke and found him in the backyard. Although doctors did not expect the boy to survive, after three months in intensive care and 30 surgeries, he returned to school in a wheelchair, attached to a colostomy bag.

According to local news reports, neighbors and schoolmates of Tuck described him as a racist skinhead with Nazi tattoos who terrorized the neighborhood and trained young children to bow down and praise Hitler. He also repeatedly taunted Hispanic neighbors and hung a Nazi flag over his garage until local housing officials forced him to remove it.

"He's a neo-Nazi. He espouses beliefs [of] violent white supremacist groups," prosecutor Mike Trent said in his opening statement at Tuck's trial. "He doesn't like anybody who is not white," one witness told the jury, which included five black women and one Hispanic man.

That this was no ordinary beating in the defense of a young woman's honor was reflected in sentences meted out to the two perpetrators in November. David Tuck and Keith Turner were both convicted of aggravated sexual assault. Tuck received a life sentence; Turner got 90 years.

"I've handled many, many bad cases, many, many important cases, but I don't think I've dealt with one where they tortured anyone quite as badly as this one," Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent told The Associated Press. "They violated him in the most brutal way possible."