Details about alleged Turlock hate crime emerge in court

01/24/2014 5:38 PM

01/24/2014 10:52 PM

Details about an alleged hate crime assault were revealed in court Friday as attorneys argued over bail for a father and son accused of attacking a black woman outside a Turlock bar last month.

Eddie Taylor, 54, and Eddie Taylor II, 25, have pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the hate crime allegations against them.

Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara Owen told the judge that the woman walked out of Staley’s Club shortly after 2 a.m. Dec. 23. She passed a group of white men gathered outside, when one of them asked why they allowed “colored people” inside the bar, Owen said.

The woman confronted the group of men, telling them she considered their remarks offensive. The prosecutor said the woman walked away and was smoking a cigarette when someone punched her in the face.

Owen said she couldn’t see who hit her, “All she could see was a white fist.” She said witnesses told investigators that they spotted the Taylors hitting the victim outside of the bar.

A Latino man, another customer at the bar, walked outside looking for his girlfriend. Owen said he spotted the men hitting the victim, so he hovered over her in an attempt to shield her from her attackers. In the process, he was pummeled by the Taylors and suffered a gash over his eye.

Defense attorney Tai Bogan, who is representing the father, offered the court a different account of the Turlock bar incident. He said the circumstances indicate the defendants should be charged with misdemeanor battery, not felony crimes.

“Essentially, this is a bar fight with no permanent injury,” Bogan argued.

The prosecutor said the woman was knocked unconscious. She also said the woman regained consciousness momentarily before she was loaded into an ambulance and lost consciousness again.

Bogan argued that the woman was drunk that night, so she could have just passed out after a night of drinking.

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova asked Bogan about photos of the alleged victims taken after the incident. He said that the woman had a bloody nose and other injuries on her face, and the man had a gash over his eye.

The defense attorney said that the defendants did not have any blood on them when they were taken into custody and that this is a case of mistaken identity in terms of who hit the alleged victims.

The prosecutor said the Taylors called the Latino man a “f------ beaner, a n----- lover.” She told the judge that the Taylors continued to use the N-word while discussing the incident while handcuffed in the back seat of a police patrol car. She also said the Taylors discussed their association with the Hells Angels, a group law enforcement considers a motorcycle gang.

Owen told the judge that the Taylors are an “extreme danger” to the public and requested their bail be set at $500,000 each.

Deputy Public Defender Maureen Keller, who is representing the son, told the judge her client has only a 2012 DUI conviction listed on his criminal record.

Bogan said the fight involved a lot of people and did not produce any lasting injuries. He also argued that it was the woman who started the confrontation when she took offense to the term “colored people,” which is still a term used in the name for the NAACP, a nationwide civil rights organization.

The defense attorney said the confrontation started inside the bar, and the woman’s friends had to escort her outside of the business when the confrontation became too heated. “She was confronting people, getting into their faces,” Bogan said in court.

He told the judge that the woman told police she remembers fighting with them, and it was the woman’s friends who started the “brawl.” The defense attorney said everyone involved in the incident was drunk, and sometimes tempers flare with alcohol.

Bogan asked the court not to increase the bail from $50,000. He argued that charges such as rape and home-invasion robbery result in $100,000 bail.

The Taylors have been charged with battery causing serious bodily injury and assault likely to produce great bodily injury in connection with the assault on the woman. Those charges are accompanied by special allegations indicating the crimes were committed because of the woman’s race.

The defendants also have been charged with misdemeanor battery on the man who intervened.

Córdova told the attorneys that such charges should result in $50,000 bail, and that number should be doubled for the father because he has a conviction that’s considered a “strike” under the state’s “three strikes” law.

The judge said he was shocked to learn that the law dictates that the hate crime allegation results in only a $5,000 bail amount. He set the father’s bail at $105,000 and the son’s bail at $50,000.

Córdova ordered the defendants to stay away from the woman and not try to contact her, and he told them to stay away from Staley’s Club, unless they are there assisting their attorneys in their case.

The judge scheduled the defendants to return to court March 4 for a pretrial hearing. They both remained free on bail Friday evening.

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