Local hate crime suspect gets lengthy sentence

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

A man who assaulted a Sikh taxi driver in a racially motivated attack pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District to a federal hate crime.

Jamie Larson, 49, assaulted the taxi in October 2012, causing back, shoulder and kidney injuries. The driver was hospitalized for more than a week.

The driver was called to drive Larson to a Federal Way address, and the assault happened when the taxi arrived. Larson grabbed his beard, pulled him to the ground, and stomped on the man’s head.

Larson made racial slurs about the driver being of Middle Eastern and Arab descent. The driver came to the United States from India.

Larson was arrested at the scene after a witness called 911.

“Acts of hate, such as this one, hurt not only the victim, but tear at our social fabric.  They cannot be tolerated in our community,” said Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington “The Shepard-Byrd Act is an important tool for holding defendants accountable.”

Larson pleaded guilty to violating one count of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was enacted in October 2009.

Larson’s conviction carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison.  His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5.