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Texas Men Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges for Racist, Antigay Attack

Texas Men Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges for Racist, Antigay Attack

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Jimmy Garza and Ramiro Serrata, Jr., have pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges stemming from a brutal attack on a gay black man in 2012.

A second man involved in a brutal 2012 attack on an African-American gay man in Corpus Christi, Texas, pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges Thursday, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Jimmy Garza, 33, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, and one count of a hate crime violation based on the victim's sexual orientation, FBI officials stated in a Thursday release from the Southern District of Texas of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Along with 22-year-old Ramiro Serrata, Jr., Garza was accused of attacking the unidentified victim in a dispute over a $5 debt. Even though the victim paid the two men, the assailants assaulted him while using racial and homophobic slurs. The victim escaped by jumping out a second-story window.

The FBI's statement recounted the brutal attack:

"Garza admitted that during the assault, he and his co-conspirators punched and kicked the man, and assaulted him with various weapons, including a frying pan, a mug, a sock filled with batteries, a broom and a belt. Garza admitted that when the victim began to bleed, the conspirators forced him to remove all of his clothing and clean up the blood throughout the apartment. After the victim was completely naked, Garza held a gun to the victim's head, while a co-conspirator sodomized the victim with a broom handle. During the assault, Garza poured bleach onto the victim's face and eyes, and struck him with a handgun. The conspirators also whipped the victim on the back with a belt."

Serrata pleaded guilty to the same charges earlier this month. Both men will be sentenced on December 9, and each face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

"The gruesome evidence heard in today's plea of guilty underscores the importance of prosecuting hate crimes under our authority to protect the civil rights of all our citizens," U.S. Attorney Magidson said in Thurday's prepared statement. "These cases will continue to be a high priority of our office."

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, added, "The federal hate crime to which Jimmy Garza Jr. and Ramiro Serrata Jr. pleaded guilty to was as shocking as it was reprehensible. The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool at its disposal to vindicate the rights of victims of violent crime."

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