3 Former Calif. Students Cleared of Hate Crime, Convicted of Assault

The hate crime charges came with a much harsher penalty than the other charges.

A jury found three former San Jose State students guilty of a misdemeanor but not guilty of hate crimes connected to the hazing of a black suitemate in 2013.

Joseph Bomgardner, 21, Colin Warren, 20, and Logan Beaschler, 20, were found guilty of misdemeanor battery Feb. 22 by an all-white jury of 12.

The fall 2013 incident occurred when the three men, all white, clamped a U-shaped bike lock around their African-American freshman suitemate’s neck. The men also called the suitemate nicknames referring to America’s history of slavery, displayed a form of the “N-word” and waved a Confederate flag, according to the Fresno Bee. Beaschler also displayed a swastika along with other Nazi symbols during the hazing.

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The defendant’s actions caused community protests on campus and provoked a university investigation. The university also apologized and created a campus task force to handle racial discrimination.

The defendant’s attorneys said in court that their clients took a prank too far and characterized them as immature and insensitive.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen called the jury’s decision “disappointing but not dispiriting” and argued “prejudice is not a prank.”

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