Feds won’t seek hate crime charges against suspect

By The Mercury

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said Friday that the alleged assault of Sterling Law, 54, a black man from Council Grove, will not be pursued as a federal hate crime.

James Cross, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom in Kansas City, said prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to support the hate crime allegation.

Isaac Wilson, who is white, is charged with having entered Law’s house in the early morning of Oct. 7. Wilson, according to Law, cut open Law’s pants with a machete and then poured rubbing alcohol on his body. After that, Wilson ignited the alcohol with a cigarette lighter. Law was forced to miss work due to the burns.

Law said during interviews that Wilson entered the house shouting racial epithets.

The hate crime was being pursued under the Matthew Shepard and the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009. Shepard, 21, Wyoming, was beaten to death because he was gay. Byrd, 49, Texas, was dragged to death behind a vehicle because he was black.

The trial on assault and burglary charges is set for June 25-29.

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