New Mexico trial begins in swastika branding case

AP News
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Posted: May 04, 2011 2:56 PM
New Mexico trial begins in swastika branding case

A man charged with branding a Nazi symbol into the arm of a developmentally disabled Navajo man is to be the first of three defendants to go on trial in the New Mexico case.

Prosecutors have charged William Hatch, 29, whose trial is scheduled to start Wednesday, with first-degree felony kidnapping, felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

The Farmington Daily Times reports two other defendants also face trial in state district court for the April 2010 attack on the 22-year-old man.

Authorities say the trio branded a swastika onto his arm, shaved the symbol on the back of his head and scrawled messages and images on his body with markers.

The three men also face federal charges in the case. They were indicted last November, becoming the first people in the nation to be charged under a new law that makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute people for hate crimes.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com