The Rec Room Bar & Grill near Lynnwood in 2018. (Zachariah Bryan / Herald file)

The Rec Room Bar & Grill near Lynnwood in 2018. (Zachariah Bryan / Herald file)

Tattoo artist pleads guilty in racist beating near Lynnwood

Jason DeSimas, who was affiliated with a neo-Nazi group, admitted to a hate crime at the Rec Room Bar and Grill in 2018.

LYNNWOOD — A far-right tattoo artist pleaded guilty Friday to a federal hate crime for an assault on a Black man who was working as a DJ in a Lynnwood-area bar.

Jason “Gravy” DeSimas, 45, of Tacoma, traveled to the area to commemorate the death of white supremacist leader Robert Jay Mathews, who was killed in a police standoff in 1984 on Whidbey Island. Along with a group of people affiliated with hate groups, DeSimas went to the Rec Room Bar and Grill on Dec. 8, 2018.

“DeSimas had discussed using ‘mutual combat’ against members of groups he opposed such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter,” according to a Department of Justice news release Friday. “DeSimas believed that he and his group could go into bars and initiate fights, so that the rest of the members of the group could join in.”

Jason DeSimas (Federal Way Mirror)

Jason DeSimas (Federal Way Mirror)

The assailants confronted the DJ, flashing Nazi salutes before and during the attack. Two other people were assaulted when they tried to defend the DJ. Security cameras captured DeSimas “assaulting the victims by striking downward with his arms, over and over,” according to federal court papers.

DeSimas had ties to Hammerskin Nation, a far-right group listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the country’s oldest and most violent skinhead groups.

Over two years after the attack, four men were indicted as key instigators and attackers.

Under a plea agreement, attorneys recommended to U.S. District Judge Richard Jones that DeSimas serve a prison sentence of 37 months. Sentencing was scheduled for July 8.

DeSimas is the second defendant to plead guilty in the case.

Daniel Dorson, 24, of Corvallis, Oregon, has a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 19.

Two other men, Jason Stanley, 44, of Boise, Idaho, and Randy Smith, 39, of Eugene, Oregon, are awaiting trial. Both are in custody.

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