A federal grand jury has indicted four men in the beating of a black man at a Houston bus stop in August.
Charles Cannon, 26; Michael McLaughlin, 40; Brian Kerstetter, 32; and Joseph Staggs, 49, were indicted on one charge each of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which became law in 2009 and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
"It is alleged that at least one of the defendants used racial slurs and all four defendants surrounded and attacked the victim by punching and kicking him about the face, head and body. Three defendants had tattoos known to reflect an affiliation with white supremacist gangs," the Department of Justice said in a statement this morning.
At the time of their arrest, we outlined the criminal histories of the accused, including this:
At the time of the incident, Cannon was freshly released from a 30-day stay in Harris County Jail after being convicted of assault after a nasty incident this March. According to a police report, Cannon and his wife Maria Guadalupe Cannon and two friends randomly assaulted a couple who were enjoying a sunny afternoon on the banks of the San Jacinto River. For kicking a man who was wrestling a friend of his after that friend had picked a fight, Cannon was sentenced to a month in jail.