Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Against Gay African American Man



A Texas man has pleaded guilty to hate crime offenses for his role in a Mar. 8, 2012, assault of a gay African American man in Corpus Christi, Texas, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Ramiro Serrata Jr., 22, pleaded guilty in federal court in Corpus Christi to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes and one count of a hate crime violation based on sexual orientation.

During the plea hearing, Serrata admitted that he and others conspired to assault a gay African American man because of his race, color and sexual orientation.  Serrata admitted that during the assault, he and his co-conspirators punched and kicked the man and assaulted him with various dangerous weapons, including a frying pan, a mug, a sock filled with batteries, a broom and a belt.

Serrata 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, one of the conspirators pointed a gun at the victim, while Serrata sodomized him with a broom.  During the assault, the conspirators poured bleach onto the man’s face and eyes, pistol-whipped him with a handgun and whipped him with a belt.

Serrata acknowledged that throughout the assault, the conspirators repeatedly called the victim racial and homophobic slurs and made other anti-black and anti-gay statements.  The conspirators also prevented the man from leaving the apartment by physical force and threats of force.  The victim eventually escaped the apartment by jumping out of a window.

Serrata will be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2015, and faces a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison.  Serrata is incarcerated pending sentencing.

Jimmy Garza Jr. is also charged with related hate crimes in connection to this offense.  His trial is scheduled for Sept. 29, 2015.  He has pleaded not guilty, and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Corpus Christi Resident Agency with assistance from the Corpus Christi Police Department and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Nicholas Durham of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruben Perez of the Southern District of Texas.

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