SEATTLE — Four men with white supremacist ties faced federal prison sentences Friday for their roles in a racist attack on a Black DJ at a Lynnwood-area bar in 2018.
In U.S. District Court in Seattle, all four of the defendants pleaded guilty to a hate crime and making a false statement to authorities about what happened. In a series of sentencing hearings Friday, Judge Richard Jones sentenced the men to varying prison terms.
Jason DeSimas, of Tacoma, was handed four years. Under a plea agreement, prosecutors and the defense recommended three years and a month.
Jason Stanley, of Idaho, had the same plea deal. Still, Jones sentenced him to four years, as well.
Randy Smith, of Oregon, got 3½ years.
And Daniel Dorson, also from Oregon, got 2⅓ years.
Judge Jones also ordered the defendants pay nearly $171,000 in restitution to cover lost wages and medical bills.
In court, Jones called the attack that of a “modern day unhooded KKK.” He also described the victim as a hero.
After the assault, the victim Tyrone Smith moved out of Snohomish County. He has permanent indentations in his head and a traumatic brain injury, he wrote in a letter to the judge. He can’t function without a dozen medications. He’s afraid to go new places without protection.
And the DJ said he’s afraid of the music he once loved.
“My house is gone,” Tyrone Smith, who stood with the help of a cane, told reporters Friday. “My little Siberian Husky is gone. A lot of things are gone.”
DeSimas was reportedly a member of the Hammerskins, described by the Anti-Defamation League as “one of the oldest hardcore racist skinhead groups in the United States and have a history of violence.” Stanley was looking to be a member of this group.
Randy Smith was a member of an affiliated organization, called Crew 38, according to prosecutors.
Before the Dec. 8, 2018 attack, he’d talked about using the “mutual combat” tactic against groups like Black Lives Matter, according to court records. He thought he and other white supremacists could go to bars and initiate fights with Black Lives Matter supporters. When the fight began, others would join in and assault them. When police arrived, the instigators could claim the brawl was just a regular bar fight, DeSimas thought.
On Dec. 7, he and others traveled to Lynnwood as part of a caravan of sorts to visit the site of a Whidbey Island cabin where Robert Jay Mathews, the neo-Nazi leader of the violent hate group The Order, died in a gunfight with dozens of federal agents on Dec. 8, 1984. It has become a far-right holiday, known as Martyr’s Day.
That night in 2018, DeSimas attended a gathering with other white supremacist sympathizers. Shortly after midnight, about a dozen of them went to the Rec Room Bar and Grill north of Lynnwood. Some wore jackets with patches indicating their white supremacist beliefs. They also had similar tattoos, including some depicting swastikas.
Meanwhile, the DJ was returning to his hobby for the first time in months after an injury, court papers say.
While Tyrone Smith worked on his equipment on a small stage, the group danced aggressively. Multiple times, they appeared to give each other Nazi salutes, federal prosecutors alleged.
Stanley messed with the DJ’s equipment. Smith pushed him away. In response, DeSimas and others surrounded Smith. DeSimas called him the N-word, according to court documents. Others also used racist slurs.
The DJ cursed at the group. DeSimas punched him in the face, knocking him to the floor. Other group members, including Stanley, Dorson and Randy Smith, kicked, punched and stomped on Smith. Witnesses who tried to intervene were also attacked.
They left the bar, which now faces a civil lawsuit from the victim. He alleges the tavern had no security and did little to protect him from the attack.
The white supremacist group then went to Whidbey Island, where they attended the Martyr’s Day celebration.
Federal prosecutors indicted the men in December 2020. Citing insufficient evidence Snohomish County prosecutors declined to charge six other men who were at the tavern the night of the attack.
After pleading guilty, multiple defendants reported regretting the hate crime.
In a letter to the judge, DeSimas wrote he was “ashamed” of his actions.
“I no longer share the views I previously held and continue to evolve into the person and father I need to be,” he added. “To be there for my daughter and family, is my task for the rest of my life.”
In a letter of his own, Dorson wrote he was “disgusted by the fear I took part in creating.”
In court, Smith called his actions “reprehensible.”
U.S. Attorney Nick Brown told reporters, “in this country, hate is spreading everyday.”
But, Brown said, the victim is “still standing and will continue to stand.”
Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; email@example.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.
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