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Swastika Branders Guilty of Fed Hate Crime

Neo-nazi pair burned, shaved swastika into Navajo
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2011 2:37 AM CDT
Swastika Branders Guilty of Fed Hate Crime
A police photos show victim after he was tortured by two New Mexico neo-Nazis who have pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges.   (Farmington Police)

(Newser) – The first men prosecuted under a federal hate crime law have pleaded guilty to carving a swastika into the arm of a Navajo Indian. New Mexican neo-Nazis Paul Beebe and Jesse Sanford admitted using a hot wire to brand the arm of their mentally challenged victim, 22. They also shaved a swastika into his hair, wrote "KKK" and "White Power" on his body with markers—and recorded the attack on a cell phone, reports the New York Daily News. The men face up to 10 years each in prison when sentenced.

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The two were charged under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed into law in 2009 and named after the gay Wyoming teen tortured and left to die lashed to a fence post, and black Texan James Byrd, who was dragged to his death tied to a truck. Another 80 cases are currently being pursued under the law. (Read more Matthew Shepard stories.)

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