Hate crime charges con­sid­ered

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCALBRIEFING -

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.

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