A federal jury in Boise on Wednesday handed down two hate crime convictions in a 2008 beating outside of a Nampa Wal-Mart. Michael Bullard and Richard Armstrong each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct.19. A third defendant, James Whitewater, pleaded guilty before trial and testified against the other two defendants, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"These convictions mean that racial crimes will not be tolerated, not in this country, not on any day. Idaho, like most other parts of this nation, has had inglorious moments in its past when people endured oppression and criminal acts merely because of their skin color, race, national origin, gender or religion. We are long past that time," said U.S. Attorney for Idaho Tom Moss. "We thank the FBI and the Nampa Police Department for their outstanding work in bringing this case forward."
And Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, in the Statesman: “We don’t tolerate this. Don’t bring it here. And we’ll do something about it when it rears its ugly head.”
There were 38 hate crime incidents in Idaho in 2007, according to data reported to the FBI, including 10 incidents in Boise. Idaho has state protections for race, religion and ethnicity, but not for gender, sexual orientation, disability or political persuasion.
Betsy Russell at Eye on Boise has some details of the Nampa case: "Armstrong has a large swastika tattooed on his chest. His lawyer argued that it was a relic from time spent in a juvenile facility, and that Armstrong is a paranoid methamphetamine user, not a racist. Armstrong contended he tried to stop Bullard from committing the crime, but the jury didn’t buy it. Bullard had a juvenile record for spray-painting racially motivated graffiti and the slogan 'white power.'”
And KIVI-TV, Channell Six, has Armstrong and Bullard mug shots.