A Real Hate Crime

Because of all the discussion here lately about fake hate hoaxes, it may be useful to point to what appears to be a real hate crime that occurred last fall at the University of Virginia.

Fourth-year student and one-time Alpha Delta Phi pledgemaster Joshua Weatherbee pleaded guilty to assault in December and spent a month behind bars for beating Luis Avila, a fourth-year business student who was a guest at an Alpha Delta Phi party Sept. 19.

Avila, a native of Peru, is seeking $150,000 in compensation and $150,000 in punitive damages from both the fraternity and Weatherbee, who is white.


According to the lawsuit Avila filed this week in Charlottesville Circuit Court, Weatherbee, 21, shouted “You should go back to Mexico” and “You should be washing my dishes” while he attacked Avila. Later, as a friend tried to drive Avila, 23, to the hospital, Weatherbee continued to shout slurs, the suit states.

It appears as though Weatherbee was convicted of simple assault and battery. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail, with 11 months suspended, and he has spent his month in jail. In short the two articles cited here imply that there was no hate crime charge, although that issue is involved in the civil suit just filed.

This sad event is as good a place as any to agree with our liberal friends that hate does indeed still exist (although that does leave open the question, debated below, whether it deserves extra punishment when it is involved in an assault).

Say What? (12)

  1. Laura March 20, 2004 at 7:39 pm | | Reply

    Of course, hate exists.

    The fact is (apparently) that Mr. Weatherbee beat the crap out of someone. Nuff said. Throw the book at him. If the attack was truly as spontaneous as reported, he may be mentally ill. If so, I wonder if that would have any bearing on the hate crime part. (It did for Colin Ferguson, if memory serves.)

    I don’t get the 11 months suspended part. Why sentence someone and then suspend the sentence? Suspended until what – until he beats up somebody else?

  2. Jack March 21, 2004 at 1:31 pm | | Reply

    Probably there are conditions to his parole, such as regular meetings with his p.o., tests for drug and alcohol use, community service, etc. Should he violate parole or commit any other crimes, even minor ones, he could have the suspension “unsuspended” and be returned to jail to serve out the remaining eleven months.

    If there are no unmentioned mitigating factors, though, this seems like a very light sentence. The guy is obviously dangerous.

  3. Laura March 21, 2004 at 2:12 pm | | Reply

    Jack, I remember reading that Carlie Brucia’s killer had violated his probation, but nothing happened. If he’d been arrested for that, she would still be living. I worry that there’s insufficient follow-up in cases involving violent offenders.

  4. Anonymous March 22, 2004 at 2:34 pm | | Reply

    This is completely ridiculous. If you look further into the case, you will notice that there was no hate crime charge because, in fact, this was the farthest thing from a hate crime. What these newspaper articles are leaving out is the fact that Weatherbee told Avila to leave his fraternity house not once, but twice. Why was Weatherbee upset with Avila? Because Avila had been sexually aggressive toward his girlfriend (who happens to be Korean). Before you people go jumping to your own conclusions about a man that you don’t even know, you should get the facts straight rather than relying on the media for your information. As for the racist comments that Weatherbee is accused of making, these are also blown way out of context. Weatherbee is not at all proud of his actions and has done everything he can to deal with this incident in an honorable fashion. However, portraying him as a racist who “beat the crap” out of someone spontaneously and because of racial animosity is absolutely wrong because nothing could be farther from the truth.

  5. John Rosenberg March 22, 2004 at 2:50 pm | | Reply

    To the last commenter: you make a good point about the mistake of relying on what’s in the press, and you also provide a useful reminder that there are two sides (at least) to any controversy. Your points would have carried even more weight if you had signed your comment instead of posting anonymously.

  6. Laura March 22, 2004 at 10:29 pm | | Reply

    That’s why I said “apparently” and “if … as reported”. We can only go by what we’re given. Why don’t you post the source of your information? Unless it’s only available to people who live in the area, in which case the rest of us can’t be expected to know about it.

  7. Anonymous March 22, 2004 at 11:55 pm | | Reply

    Whoever maintains this website should seriously consider removing this story from it or at least consider renaming it. This incident had nothing to do with racial animosity, hate or anything even close to it. It was a drunken fraternity brawl that has gotten out of hand because one of the participants happens to be a minority. Although there is no public information that tells the real story (the real story wouldn’t sell newspapers because it’s not that interesting), I know that Mr. Weatherbee is a good guy who made a mistake that he regrets and will regret for the rest of his life. He has served his time in jail (which was 16 days by the way), apologized to the victim and has done everything else that he can possibly do in order to handle this situation in a respectful way. He admits he was at fault but he was in no way motivated by racial animosity. One of his best friends, whom he has known and loved for 12 years, is Mexican. His girlfriend (who he was standing up for) is Korean. He has friends who know and love him from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. To write an article entitled “A real hate crime” is just not right. If any of you knew Mr. Weatherbee, you would certainly agree that he is a good person that made a mistake. If you were to talk to him about this incident you would immediately see his sincere remorse and regret of the situation. He has never been in trouble with the law prior to this. The facts of the case speak for themselves. He was not charged criminally with a hate crime because it was not a hate crime. This lawsuit is just an attempt for free money. Unfortunately it is destroying a good man’s reputation and the truth needs to be heard.

  8. Peter March 26, 2004 at 12:18 pm | | Reply

    In response to the anonymous poster above, if what you say is true (and I agree with previous statements by John that if you don’t cite your sources, all this is is more hearsay), then perhaps you are right, that this is an unfortunate accident that is destroying a good man’s reputation. The problem is that he still beat up another person badly enough that she had to visit the hospital. That’s not the way a ‘good man’ treats other people, even if it is standing up for his girlfriend. The other problem is that others who do such things actually are not ‘good’ people, and are actually committing hate crimes, and should be punished, publicly. How do we keep the really good people safe but bring justice to the bad? Maybe that’s the question.

  9. Anonymous April 7, 2004 at 1:27 pm | | Reply

    The reason why people are not posting their name is that this is still a case before the civil court and such recognition would not be advisable by legal council.

    You should know that the victim was a male, not a female, and that the injuries to the male were not extreme (you should also know that it was members of the fraternity who took the victim to the hospital, as a precaution).

    Does this make the action honorable or correct…absolutely not. What the defenders are claiming is that spending 20 days in jail (including Christmas) is a penalty which fit the actual crime…the courts would seem to agree.

  10. Anonymous May 18, 2004 at 5:07 am | | Reply

    Just some clarifications:

    1)Mr. Avila was never sexually agressive against Mr. Weatherbee’s girlfriend

    2)Only two members of the fraternity cared about Mr. Avila’s health while some were even content with the actions that Mr. Weatherbee did.

    3)The only reason Mr. Avila did not file a hate crime lawsuit in the criminal lawsuit was because it was going to inflict even more emotional distress on the current situation of Mr. Avila’s work and academic experience, who was undergoing his last year in college and had to undergone several job interviews with a broken nose and bruises in his face.

    4)Mr. Avila almost went blind in his left eye after the beating and had fractured bones in his face, arent those qualified as severe beating?

    5)Free money? how can someone even put a price on humiliation, pain, suffering, and living in constant threat of an attack?

    6)Not a racist act? Why would Mr. Weatherbee even express comments with so much racial hate in the first place?

    I think this issue should be given greater importance as it is a problem that should be irradicate once and from all from our society.

  11. Anonymous May 19, 2004 at 9:53 pm | | Reply

    In response to the previous message, your points are false. Period.

    -Mr. Avila was sexually aggressive toward Mr. Weatherbee’s girlfriend. This seems to be a pattern of Mr. Avila’s and other girls can testify to this fact as Mr. Avila has been sexually inappropriate toward them as well.

    -All members of the fraternity were concerned about Mr. Avila’s health, including Mr. Weatherbee, after he realized what he did. It was an unfortunate event that occurred between persons under the influence of alcohol. The fact that alcohol was the biggest factor in this occurrence does not excuse Mr. Weatherbee’s behavior, but does explain it.

    -There were absolutely no grounds for a hate crime charge. It is not up to the victim to decide which charges he will press in a situation like this. That is determined by the state. If it were a hate crime, Mr. Weatherbee would have been charged with a hate crime when he was arrested.

    -Mr. Avila was able to recover 100% and in a matter of a short period of time. In fact, he was back to his usual self very shortly after this incident in that his behavior toward yet another girl was sexually inappropriate.

    -There was not a constant threat of another attack by Mr. Weatherbee. His remorse, guilt and shame which he expressed to Mr. Avila and everyone else involved are indicative of this lack of threat.

    -There was one inappropriate comment made concerning the racial accusations. This comment was incoherent and occurred several minutes after the attack. This does not make whatever was said right, but this incident was not racially motivated in anyway. Given the same circumstances, it would have occurred regardless of the victim’s race. Mr. Avila knows this. This has turned into a business venture and adding race appeal to it is an effort to increase the likelihood of a monetary verdict.

    -Both sides will have their day in court.

  12. Anonymous May 20, 2004 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    In response to the previous message:

    People that know Mr. Avila, knows him as a caring and sweet person. Trying to come up with a “counter-attack” to try to damage his reputation is despicable. Every female friend he has and his girlfriend are witnesses of his good character and in no moment would he ever be sexually aggressive against a woman.

    Mr. Weatherbee cared so much about his girlfriend to the point that he cheated on her a couple of weeks after the incident?

    PD: I think this back and forth counter attacks are not helpful so I agree that both sides will have their day at court

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