The Latest: Suspect denies hate crime near California mosque

AP News
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Posted: Dec 13, 2016 8:39 PM

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on hate crime allegations against two men for an attack near a Southern California mosque (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A man has pleaded not guilty to hate crime charges in a fight with worshippers near a Southern California mosque that left a Muslim man stabbed.

John Matteson denied the charges Monday in Ventura County court. The allegations include disturbing the peace by fighting and violating civil rights. Hate crime enhancements added to the charges make them felonies.

Matteson is accused of involvement in the Saturday night argument that erupted into a fight near the mosque in Simi Valley.

He is not, however, accused of the stabbing. Police say they are looking for a second suspect who wielded the knife.

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9 p.m.

Police in a Southern California suburb say they're still looking for a man suspected of a hate crime for stabbing a worshipper near a mosque.

Simi Valley police said Monday that a man previously arrested, 29-year-old John Matteson, was involved in the crime, but he was not the one who wielded the knife.

Police spokesman Sgt. Travis Coffey says the two men approached a group of people who had just left the Islamic Center of Simi Valley late Saturday night and yelled slurs at them. That escalated to a physical fight where one of the men stabbed one of the worshippers.

Ventura County jail records show Matteson was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats, violating civil rights and disturbing the peace by fighting. It's not clear whether he has an attorney.