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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Four white supremacists convicted in 2008 beating (Hemet, USA)

Four members of a white supremacist gang were found guilty this week of a 2008 beating in a Hemet mobile home park that left a Hispanic man in a coma for several weeks.

Three different juries convicted Justin Tyme Hayes, 23, Derek Shane O'Brien, 24, Scott James Siewert, 25, and Mark Wisler, 19, of various charges.

The four men are members of the C.O.O.R.S. Family Skins, a Hemet skinhead gang whose name stands for Comrades of Our Racial Struggle.

All four men jumped Sergio Cortez on Nov. 14, 2008, at the Jackson Mobile Home Park on Elk Avenue in Hemet. During the attack, both Wisler and Hayes yelled out, "White power" and "C.O.O.R.S. up," Deputy District Attorney Tim Cross said.

Prosecutors alleged that the attack was racially motivated but did not pursue hate crime charges because they didn't believe they could prove to every jury that race was the only motive.

The attack began when Siewert and Derek Richardson, who was not charged in the case, thought they saw Cortez breaking into Siewert's car. They ran outside and started hitting him. Cortez was able to run away but Richardson gave chase, Cross said.

Defense attorney Thomas Gage said Hayes admitted to the attack. But Gage said it did not amount to attempted murder because it began in the heat of passion.

"He didn't act with the intent to kill. The jury obviously saw it otherwise," Gage said. "He acknowledged his role in the assault. It was more of a spontaneous, booze-fueled assault more than anything planned out."

The same jury that convicted Hayes found Siewert guilty of assault. He faces up to eight years in prison.

Another jury found Wisler guilty of attempted murder and assault and gang charges, and ruled the attack was premeditated. He could face life in prison for the premeditation charge.

The third jury found O'Brien guilty of attempted murder, assault and a gang enhancement. He also faces up to 22 years in prison.

Sentencing is set for May 6 in French Valley.