One Highland Park teen-beating/hate-crime suspect pleads guilty

January 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm | In Crime, Highland Park, West Seattle news | 33 Comments

gavel.jpgChecking court files early today for West Seattle crime cases carrying over into the new year, we discovered something that so far as we can tell, has not been reported yet, though it happened three weeks ago: One of the two suspects in last May’s Highland Park beating/hate-crime case has pleaded guilty.

Court records show that 23-year-old Ahmed Y. Mohamed pleaded guilty December 13th to both of the charges filed against him and 21-year-old co-defendant Jonathan Baquiring – one count of robbery and one count of malicious harassment. If you don’t recall the backstory – a bloodied, dazed 15-year-old found near 17th/Kenyon (map) the morning of May 25th told police he had been beaten, burned and robbed at the 14th/Holden (map) staircase by two “black and Filipino” men who repeatedly made remarks about his race (white). In his plea documents, Mohamed acknowledges that was the motive, writing:

… I maliciously and intentionally, because of my perception of his race, caused physical injury …

Mohamed also admits to robbing the victim:

… by stealing items from his pockets while threatening to cap him, whipping him with his belt, and burning him with cigarettes. We also displayed a knife with a several-inch blade, held it to his neck, and threatened to cut his throat. We targeted [the victim] because he was a different race than we are.

Police found Mohamed and Baquiring nearby that same morning and questioned but did not arrest them. They did get DNA samples, and almost four months later, after those samples were matched to other evidence in the case, charges were filed on September 20th. Baquiring was arrested the next night, as reported here; Mohamed, not until October 11th; both have been in jail ever since.

The plea agreement document in Mohamed’s case notes that all parties agree there was “different criminal intent” between the two crimes – robbery with use of a deadly weapon (the knife) and malicious harassment (hate crime). Mohamed, who has no felony record, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. But according to the plea-agreement documents, prosecutors plan to recommend 4 years in prison for the robbery count and 1 year for malicious harassment, to be served concurrently (update: plus 24 months for the weapons enhancement – because of the knife – on the robbery count; see comments). His sentencing hearing is set for January 21st. Court records for co-defendant Baquiring indicate that so far, he is proceeding toward trial one month after that, in late February.

33 Comments

  1. 4 years? Plea bargains are such crap.

    Comment by Jeff — 4:11 pm January 3, 2011 #

  2. I would like to see the victim in this case sue both the convicted and the accused for violating his civil rights.

    Comment by Barry — 4:33 pm January 3, 2011 #

  3. who know that state’s justice could be so hilarious?

    Comment by smash the state — 4:34 pm January 3, 2011 #

  4. I hope the victim sues both the convicted and accused in this case for “violating his civil rights”.

    Comment by Barry — 4:35 pm January 3, 2011 #

  5. Yeah, prison will fix any racial prejudices he has.

    Comment by Laughable — 4:42 pm January 3, 2011 #

  6. at what point does the fact that 2 adults beat a CHILD, the victim is only 15 this should also be a factor when considering this case. and what is the point of having a hate crime law on the books if all they do is run it CONCURRENTLY. ???
    our police officers must be so frustrated after all the hard work they do on the front end to be failed so miserably on the back end…..

    Comment by Shfy1 — 5:27 pm January 3, 2011 #

  7. The criminal justice system in this state is a JOKE, and Prosecutors are directly responsible.
    .
    Why allow a plea at all?! You have these guys dead to rights – have some cojones, DO YOUR DAMN JOB and TRY THEM in court, get a conviction and send them to prison for life. At least for more than 4 years, which will probably include time served and also get reduced to 18 months in the long run.
    .
    I feel like we’re paying for a full justice system and getting drive-thru service instead.
    .
    J.O.K.E.

    Comment by lenguamor — 5:29 pm January 3, 2011 #

  8. This is ridiculous. Apparently this kids pain and suffering, not to mention mental anguish, matter nothing. These guys should be given full life sentences for this atrocity.

    Comment by JN — 6:35 pm January 3, 2011 #

  9. They should have gotten drunk and run over the poor kid, the sentence would have been much less.

    Comment by MrJT — 6:54 pm January 3, 2011 #

  10. This is unbelievable!!! Yes, he’s a child and the justice system doesn’t recognize what has happened to him? Where are the attorneys who could help in this case? Many people need to speak up and get something organized to let those in “charge” know this is not acceptable in our community.

    Comment by Outrageous! — 6:54 pm January 3, 2011 #

  11. I’m loathe to say this, but it the perpetrators had been white and the victim of another race the sentencing would be much more harsh. A hate crime is a hate crime.

    Comment by Petunia — 8:34 pm January 3, 2011 #

  12. Petunia you are absolutely right.

    Comment by Wild One — 10:10 pm January 3, 2011 #

  13. Life in prison? What are you people talking about? Four years in a prison is no joke. With a criminal history score of zero, practically no crime in washington carries a life sentence. Not even murder in most cases.

    What happened to this kid is horrible. But you can’t lock this young man up forever. Let’s hope he can turn his life around.

    Barry: The victim can absolutely sue these men. Not for violation of his civil rights as they aren’t the government, but for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment (among other causes of action). Of course, suing a man heading off to prison is probably not going to do you much good. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.

    Petunia: Do you have any basis for this opinion, or is this just you assuming that whites are getting short end of the stick for some reason? Since you are loath to say it, (yet you did) I can only assume you have some statistics to back up this troubling assertion.

    Comment by Seaviewer — 10:51 pm January 3, 2011 #

  14. 5 years for a hate crime…wow. I was thinking at least 20 something. Did you see the pictures of the kid afterwards.

    Comment by jonnygoska — 7:37 am January 4, 2011 #

  15. Seaviewer – Petunia is absolutely right. And the reason she “loathes to say it” is because of people like you who want statistics. White guilt is a part of our society. Not to say its not warranted for past aggressions. If that had been two adult white males who beat and tormented a child of a different race it would have been national news guaranteed. And if you can’t see that then are blinded by your “statistics”.

    Comment by displacedcoastie — 8:34 am January 4, 2011 #

  16. I’m not sure I understand. We have people torturing and murdering spouses and getting off with modest sentences but with out the plea bargain they wanted life for a robbery beating?

    I agree they need to be punished and its horrible but we need some consistency under the law.

    Comment by cj — 9:18 am January 4, 2011 #

  17. displacedcoastie:

    So, no statistics. Just a general assumption of white victimhood from a person who apparently isn’t aware that sentence disparity is a real endemic problem and far and wide works in the opposite way you suggest. Gotcha.

    Comment by seaviewer — 9:42 am January 4, 2011 #

  18. SeaV…If you need it to be explained again, then you are living life with your eyes closed.

    These guys should have gone away for:

    1) ALOT longer than 4 years…

    and

    2) The hate crime and the robery should be server CONSECUTIVELY not CONCURRENTLY. No Hate Crime conviction should be bundled with another offense. It should be punished separately and completely from the other offenses.

    Our Judaical Prosecutors in this town/state are not doing the public service. Remember the armored car driver that got assassinated in a WalMart for doing his job…that was a premeditated inside job. They had the guy that did it DEAD TO RIGHTS and they did not pursue the death penalty. If ever there was a premeditated homicide that deserved it, it was that guy and MoClem, but he got his…

    So, hate crime on a white child and you get off easy in this town…pathetic.

    hk

    Comment by HolyKow — 9:57 am January 4, 2011 #

  19. Sadly, hate crimes are often not prosecuted as such, or even prosecuted at ALL. They’re hard to prove and juries are skeptical about assuming intent.

    How do I know? I was the victim of a hate crime. Cops said on site that it was a hate crime. Nowhere in the subsequent reports was it ever documented as a hate crime.

    Seattle Office of Civil Rights has plenty of stats around hate crime prosecution and conviction. Take a look. Unfortunately, the other related crimes are the punishable ones in almost all cases. Using the euphemism “malicious harassment” also doesn’t help. Call a hate crime what it is – hate crime. Not harassment. Those are very different connotations.

    Comment by AG — 10:03 am January 4, 2011 #

  20. seaviewer, are you actually trying to claim that this story would NOT be national news if the races were reversed?

    Comment by Jeff — 10:11 am January 4, 2011 #

  21. AG, I am sorry for your experience…however, this case should make you especially mad as hell…he admited to the hate crime statute (malicious harassment). He said I AM GUILTY OF THIS and they still did nothing but make him serve a cheap 2 bit robery stint that will keep him in…what…12 months…18 MAYBE…

    This is a miscarriage of justice and one that we have become all to used to seeing out of our sleepwalkers at City Hall.

    I restate:

    boooooooooo

    hk

    Comment by HolyKow — 10:27 am January 4, 2011 #

  22. HolyKow:

    18 months? How do you figure? Robbery One is a Class A violent felony. Maximum early release time earned on that is capped at 10% by statute.

    The standard range for a Robbery 1 (with a zero criminal history) is 31-41 months. With 1 point (the point he earned for the Malicious Harassment Charge) the standard range goes up to 36-48 months. They are recommending the maximum 48 months.

    So concurrently or consecutively the additional charge adds seven months simply by increasing his score.

    (note that with an offender score of 1, the standard range for the malicious harassment is 6-12 months of which they are also recommending the maximum.)

    With a whopping 4.8 months earned for early release time, he’s still in prison for well over 40 months.

    And why in the world would you be blaming City Hall for this? This is a felony and is being handled in King County Superior Court which means its the County prosecutor’s office.

    Comment by seaviewer — 10:43 am January 4, 2011 #

  23. Jeff:

    I don’t purport to know what is or is not national news material. And I’m not at all sure why that would be in any way relevant to we should expect from a plea deal in this or any other case.

    Comment by seaviewer — 11:15 am January 4, 2011 #

  24. Seaviewer – My family has had a long history with the California Department of Corrections, both working for and being detained by. Your arguement that sentences are longer based on a person’s race is a common complaint of felons. Its an old prison trick of rationalizing your crimes and blaming them on someone else. But that is not the point here. The point is a child was almost beaten to death and the Justice System failed him. Which is a calculated failure I am sure do to prison overcrowding and an increasing trend of putting criminal’s rights over victims’.

    Comment by displacedcoastie — 2:08 pm January 4, 2011 #

  25. It’s tough to find race-correlated hate-crime sentencing statistics on the Web. But without those, it’s kind of hard to make the case that hate-crime sentences are harsher for white people than for others — even though I suspect this to be true.
    .
    I think the sentences should NOT have been made concurrent as they were, because that means there is, in effect, no EXTRA jail time handed out specifically for the hate crimes committed. As someone else said, what’s the point of having a hate crime law on the books if hate-crime perpetrators don’t have to do any extra time for it?
    .
    Personally, I’d like to know how Mohamed and Baquiring got the crazy idea that the kid they robbed and tortured was a bad person, simply because he was white.
    .
    Did they get that from friends and family?
    .
    Did they get it from TV or from some school textbook perhaps? (Hmmm . . .)
    .
    Or did they somehow come up with it on their own?
    .
    I would really like to get the answer to that question, straight from the perps’ mouths.

    Comment by DP — 2:15 pm January 4, 2011 #

  26. DP: But there IS extra time. Our criminal justice system works on standard range sentences. As long as the judge gives you a sentence within the standard range it is unappealable.

    These standard ranges are set out in a grid. The higher your offender score, the higher up in the grid you go.

    See: http://www.sgc.wa.gov/PUBS/Adult_Manual/Manual_2008_Section_3.pdf (page 195)

    By obtaining the bias crime conviction, the defendant moves from zero to one. This adds seven months to his standard range. The high end on Robbery 1 for a first timer is 41 months. For a person with an additional felony, it’s 48. That’s what they are recommending.

    Comment by seaviewer — 3:05 pm January 4, 2011 #

  27. Don’t have the answer to that one. But I do have an addition. Re-reading the copious paperwork in connection with the plea bargain – the weapons enhancement on Count I, robbery (since a knife was used), is recommended for 24 months *not* concurrent with the 4 year/1 year concurrency. So that brings the expected recommendation (which the judge does not necessarily have to honor) to 72 months – minus the standard “good behavior,” plus credit for time already served. We will be in court for the sentencing to report on who says what and what the final result is – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:25 pm January 4, 2011 #

  28. I’ll just point out that not only are weapon’s enhancements always served consecutively with whatever the underlying conviction was, but they are also served straight meaning the offender cannot earn early release time while serving that portion of their sentence.

    24 months is 24 months in prison.

    Comment by Seaviewer — 12:47 am January 5, 2011 #

  29. statistics can be easily manipulated to prove whatever point you want, while your god guided beliefs and opinions are inevitably infallible and right

    Comment by . — 11:20 pm January 7, 2011 #

  30. If it was a couple white guys that assaulted a black/asian the media would be all over this.

    Comment by Fred — 1:41 pm January 18, 2011 #

  31. The media WAS “all over this.” It broke first on TV when the dad took the story to local stations even before much of the information had come out from police, and it went on for quite a while. I’m not sure why none of them bothered following up and noticing this guilty plea sooner; I just happened to be looking into court files and there it was, and after we reported it, then a couple of citywide outlets “suddenly noticed it” and reported it too. We’ll be back in court both for this suspect’s sentencing and also for the ongoing (so far) case against the other suspect – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:22 pm January 18, 2011 #

  32. Let me get this straight….I or a family member are assaulted. The wounds are serious. If I was gay, or black, or white, or Presbyterian, and some perjorative is hurled, it’s more hateful…? Huh? My life and sanctity are worth less in the eyes of the courts because..?? Robbery is robbery, assault is assault, what is this protected class crap? Out the window goes equal justice for all, eh? PC run amok

    Comment by kootchman — 7:43 pm January 20, 2011 #

  33. I would love to get my hands on one of these guys, i dont wanna say nothin else, anyone get what im saying? somebody who could do this to a young kid of any race has some things comin to them. any 1 got a picture of these guys?

    Comment by JOSH — 11:11 pm January 23, 2011 #

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