South Sound News

Teen attacker in Auburn hate crime sentenced to 13 years in prison

KENT, Wash. — Julian Tuimauga attacked and beat DaShawn Horne -a black man from Auburn- with a baseball bat in January, while shouting racial slurs.

There were tears on both sides of the courtroom as a judge decided Friday how much time in prison would be most appropriate for the teen who nearly killed -and forever changed DaShawn's life in this hate crime.

>> RELATED: Victim of brutal hate crime beating struggling for survival

"The day you made the cowardly decision to beat my son in the back and head. And left him there to die. Why, why, why would you do this," said LaDonna Horne, DaShawn's mother.

Julian Tuimauga, 18, faced his victim's family in court.

"You tried to murder my son," Horne said.

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​Tuimauga plead guilty to beating DaShawn with an aluminum baseball bat, over his head, back and legs, after DaShawn spent the night with his sister.

Then in the moments after, took a video as Dashawn laid unconscious, bleeding on a bed of rocks.

"Get the f*** up homie, that's what happens to these n*****s out here huh? That's what happens to you n*****s out here boy!" Tuimauga shouted in the video.

"That was a hard video for me to watch, that was the first time," LaDonna said to the court, tearing up.

>> RELATED: Healing vigil held at Harborview for hate crime victim still in a coma

The attack nearly killed DaShawn.

The defense said the act of violence, was out of character, and asked the judge for leniency, and to consider Tuimauga's young age.

"Julian snapped. He was not in control of himself," the defense attorney said.

But King County Superior Court Julia Garratt sentenced Tuimauga to the maximum allowed from the plea deal -13 years.

"I must balance that against the impact against Mr. Horne and the 'prison' he's in through no fault of his own," Garratt said.

The judge also mentioned the handwritten letter DaShawn wrote to her.

"It was heartbreaking to read his post script – 'I miss my son,'" Garratt said. 
"Obviously you see your son, but your ability to parent has been changed," she said.

KIRO7's Deedee Sun followed DaShawn's case, talking with his family after the attack, when he opened his eyes after nearly seven weeks in a coma, and talked with the family earlier this week.

"He's starting to remember what he did yesterday," LaDonna said Wednesday.

>> RELATED: Number of hate crimes in Seattle double from year to year

Finally Friday, just shy of 10 months after the Jan. 20 attack, the Horne family found some closure.

Tuimauga addressed the court.

"I'd like to apologize to my victim and especially his mom," Tuimauga said.

After the sentencing, many Tuimauga's family members approached the Horne family to also apologize.

"I'm sorry about what Julian did to you," Tuimauga's grandmother said through tears, hugging DaShawn.

"I'm thankful that justice has been served," LaDonna said.

"Praise God," DaShawn said.

"That they came and apologized, that meant a lot. That said a lot, that meant a lot. We appreciated it. It's been a long journey and we're still on that journey as well as their family," LaDonna said.

DaShawn is still improving, but he's lost his sense of smell and can't tastes most foods. He struggles to speak. And as the judge said in court today, the attack has changed his ability to parent his 2-year-old son.

Tuimauga will be in his early 30s when he's released from prison.