FRESNO, Calif. (Diya TV) — A 23-year-old Fresno man was found guilty Wednesday f a hate crime for assaulting an elderly Sikh man and urging his friend to run the victim over – a brutal crime that was captured by a private security camera.
Prosecutor Timothy Donovan said Daniel Coronel Wilson Jr. targeted Amrik Singh Bal, who had a long beard and was wearing religious articles such as a turban and robe, because he believed he was a terrorist.
The 68-year-old Bal was a hardworking, peaceful man whose sole goal was to provide for his family, Donovan told the jury, which consisted of eight men and four women. The jury deliberated for two hours before finding Wilson guilty of felony assault causing great bodily injury to Bal, who was punched in the face several times and then run over by a car driven by Alexis Mendoza. The jury also ruled the assault was a hate crime.
After the verdict was read, Wilson’s defense attorney David Munoz asked the judge to allow his client to remain free on bail — he said Wilson was not a flight risk because he is a community college student, has a job, cares for his parents and has attended every court hearing.
Judge Jonathan Conklin denied the motion, and ordered Wilson be taken to jail and held without bail until his Dec. 2 sentencing hearing. He faces a maximum of eight years in prison.
Wilson stood trial alone without his co-defendant Mendoza, who committed suicide in April.
In closing arguments Wednesday, Donovan told jurors: “It’s a hate crime because the victim was judged by the clothing he wore and by his faith.” Donovan said Wilson instigated the assault by telling Mendoza: “ISIS. Terrorist. Let’s get him.”
Donovan went on during his closing summation to explain to the jury how Sikhs and Muslims have become mistaken targets of hate crimes and harassment since 9/11 — according to police, the assault on Bal stirred outrage and fear within Fresno’s Sikh community.
After he was beaten, Bal’s two assailants got back in their car. Bal tried to run away, but the car ran him over, slamming his head into the pavement. Donovan told jurors that Wilson’s actions could have very likely cost Bal his life, after Mendoza’s Dodge Charger ran him over, he was left unconscious on the roadway for six minutes before he was discovered by friends.
The assault left Bal with a broken collarbone, cuts on his head and to one of his ears, and a swollen jaw, Donovan said.