A judge told two of the men they could face hate crime charges. Under Florida law, hate crimes involve “prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status or advanced age of the victim.”
Hate crime charges may be brought against two of the three white men arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Black man in Jacksonville, Florida.
According to The Florida Times-Union, Ryan Christopher Nichols, 19; Daniel James DeGuardia, 18; and Holden Emery Dodson, 21, were arrested Thursday, two days after a passerby discovered the unnamed victim’s body behind a dumpster.
DeGuardia and Dodson are accused of accessory after the fact to the murder, while Nichols faces charges of second-degree murder and altering records of physical evidence.
On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Kim Sadler ordered that Nichols be held without bond. DeGuardia and Dodson received bail amounts of $503,000 and $203,000, respectively.
Sadler informed DeGuardia and Dodson that their charges might upgrade to hate crimes, though it remains unclear why that would happen. First Coast News reported that a law enforcement source who knows directly of the case said there is no evidence of a hate crime.
Florida law defines hate crimes as those that involve “prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status or advanced age of the victim,” The Times-Union reported.
“I’m not the state, it’s up to them, of course, what charges they bring,” Sadler told First Coast News. “But it was just a bunch of White guys chasing a Black guy, and I didn’t see any reason for it.”
The fatal shooting Tuesday was near the same location and time another unnamed Black person was killed by gunfire in Jacksonville. A woman, 36, was found dead near a car approximately two miles away, a homicide mentioned in the same briefing as the one about the man’s killing. Sheriffs officials said the two cases are not related, First Coast reported.
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