Hate crime victim wakes up from coma

VIDEO: Hate crime victim wakes up from coma

Nearly seven weeks after DaShawn Horne was brutally beaten in what prosecutors call a hate crime, the 26-year-old is out of his coma.

On March 6, his family posted a photo on Facebook showing Horne’s eyes open, with the caption “#DASHAWNISWOKE.” It’s a picture many people have been waiting to see.

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“People wanted to see him with his eyes open,” said Rodney King, Horne’s uncle. “You go like this (he gestures with his hand), he flinches so that shows that he’s actually – he can see,” King said.

It’s a big step in the recovery – his eyes are open and will track movement, and he’s responding to some commands such as "wiggle your toes."

He still hasn’t left Harborview since the attack, and he isn’t talking yet. He still has a trachea tube in, and a couple of tubes out of his right lung.

But his family is incredibly positive about his recovery and finding justice for the hate crime.

KIRO7 caught up with his uncle as he was passing out flyers at Salon Edwards in Federal Way. The flyers are to tell everyone a celebration barbecue is happening there Saturday, starting at noon, for Horne's progress and for everyone pulling for him.

“It’s our way of saying thank you to all the supporters,” King said.

The crime that's kept Horne in the hospital now, for 47 days – he was leaving the home of a woman he met at a Seattle bar the night before. That's when prosecutors say the woman's brother repeatedly beat Horne over the head with a baseball bat, while yelling racial slurs.

The crime is caught on a neighbor’s security camera.

In court last month, 18-year-old Julian Tumigaua pleaded “not guilty” to first-degree assault and malicious harassment – what the state calls a hate crime.

His uncle says it means their family’s fight is not only for Horne’s healing, but also for justice.

“It’s going to be – probably going to trial. It’s something they said we need to prepare for, probably going up to a year or two,” King said.

He says they work on that outside the hospital, but at Harborview, their focus is on healing.

“There’s so many thousands of people walking with him, supporting him every step of the way,” King said.

Horne's family says in the coming days, he will be taken off some pain medications and sedatives, and they hope that will help him start talking.

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