Pair sentenced to six years in prison for beating of black person

Pair sentenced to six years in prison for beating of black person
BY KAREN MAESHIRO, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
Article Launched:06/29/2007 09:07:09 PM PDT
LANCASTER — Two reputed Latino gang members accused of attacking the first African-American person they saw after a relative was beaten by “black gangsters” were each sentenced Friday to six years in prison.

Jose Herrera, 22, and Joshua Anderson, 21, both of Lancaster, were sentenced after each pled no contest to assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime allegation.

Their trial already had begun with testimony from several witnesses, including the victim.

“The reason they pled I believe is that they saw the evidence sufficiently such that they realized they had no defense to the charges,” Deputy District Attorney John Evans said.

The 16-year-old victim was walking with a friend near Antelope Valley High School when he was set upon by four assailants, one of them wielding a stick.

“The stated motive to law enforcement was that somebody’s cousin had been jumped earlier that day or the day before by black gangsters. They were angry and decided to beat the first black person that they found,” Evans said before the start of testimony.

“There was no other motivation but race.”

Two boys, ages 13 and 16, have been charged in the case and were being handled in Juvenile Court.

The victim, Desert Winds Continuation High School, was taken to a hospital where he was treated for wounds to his head and released, Evans said.

Deputy Public Defender Gustavo Diaz, attorney for Anderson, declined to comment. Herrera’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

The victim was attacked about 2 p.m. March 15 as he walked on a sidewalk next to the north parking lot of the campus, Evans said.

The attackers yelled racial epithets at the victim, and Herrera is alleged to have used a “stick-type club” to beat the victim on his head, Evans said.

Screaming witnesses drew school security and sheriff’s deputies working on campus to the fight within a minute where they found the bloodied victim, Evans said.

One of the teenagers was caught at the scene and Herrera was apprehended while trying to run away, Evans said.

Anderson and the other teen were found hiding in a closet at Herrera’s house three blocks away, Evans said.

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