Hate crime charges considered
Five teens who are accused of breaking into a Leander home and spray-painting the interior with Ku Klux Klan and Nazi symbols in May could face increased penalties under Texas’ hate crimes law, according to a Travis County prosecutor.
Assistant District Attorney Efrain De La Fuente said prosecutors would present to a grand jury evidence of the nature of the graffiti as well as what he called the multiethnic makeup of the couple who owned the home. He did not know when a grand jury would consider the case.
If a judge or jury finds that the crime was committed because of the defendant’s
bias, then the crimes sentencing range on
the top count would be bumped from two to 20 years to five years to life.
Charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and burglary of a habi
tation in the case are: Allison Bonnet and Shawn Morgan Turnage , both 17, and three juveniles, including a 13-year-old boy, a 14-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, sheriff’s office officials said.
According to an arrest affidavit, the five teens ransacked the home, in the 21600 block of Quail Valley Court, and stole a .22-caliber rifle, a gun case, jewelry and other items. The home was burglarized and vandalized while it was vacant over a period of several days, a sheriff’s office spokesman has said.