News Roundup for August 19, 2011

One of the teens charged with the brutal beating and murder of an African-American man in Jackson, Miss., is now charged with capital murder. Deryl Dedmon, 19, is accused of a randomly selecting a black man, beating him with a group of teens, and running him over in an apparent hate crime. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Police in Ann Arbor, Mich., are investigating the assault of a man as a possible hate crime. Authorities say the 22-year-old white victim and his friend were followed by a group of eight men, of whom six were black, who hurled racial and other slurs at the victim, pulled a knife on him and beat him.

A judge in the conspiracy trial of members of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia has thrown out the sole criminal charge against one of the defendants. Rachel A. Barney was accused of hindering the prosecution of the five other defendants, including her husband, for hiding militia leader Schaeffer Cox in her house. The remaining defendants are still charged with planning to kidnap and murder Alaska state officials.

Two of three New Mexico men charged with branding a mentally handicapped man with a swastika have pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges. Paul Beebe, 28, and Jesse Sanford, 26, were accused of the branding as well as writing white supremacist phrases on him. The men pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal that reduced their possible sentences from up to 35 years to 8.5 years.

Defense lawyers for a California teen accused of a hate crime murder are attempting to disqualify the trial judge. Brandon McInerney is accused of shooting a gay 15-year-old classmate because of his sexual orientation. McInerney’s attorneys argue that the judge gave too much leeway to the prosecution in witnesses and evidence.