May 3, 2017
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office accused a Houston man of a hate crime Wednesday for allegedly unleashing a racial epithet while trying to stab an African American man.
James Scott Lee II, 32, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities contend Lee, who is white, chose his victim based on race, so they added a rarely used “hate crimes enhancement” to the charge.
As a result, Lee faces five years to life in prison, instead of two years 20, if convicted.
“I hate (n------) and I’m gonna kill me one today,” Lee was quoted as saying as he brandished the knife, according to a document filed by prosecutors.
They requested he be held on $250,000 bail, which is more than eight times the normal amount for an aggravated assault case.
“It can be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is motivated by racial hatred, but in this case, the defendant’s own words supply the evidence to charge him with a hate crime,” First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg said.
The victim escaped Lee by jumping into a car and locking the door.
Prosecutors contended in a court document that Lee is either mentally unstable or has deep-seated animosity toward African Americans, but either way poses an imminent threat to public safety.
Authorities said Lee also had brass knuckles at the time of his arrest.
He was previously been convicted of domestic assault and violated a protective order.