The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.
Guilty plea in hate crime attack on West Seattle teen
Posted by Jennifer Sullivan
Jonathan Baquiring, a 21-year-old man who attacked a West Seattle teen last year because he was white, pleaded guilty Friday morning to first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon and malicious harassment, the state's hate crime statute.
Baquiring could face up to six years in prison when he is sentenced on March 11.
Baquiring and Ahmed Mohamed attacked Shane McClellan on May 25. Mohamed, 22, pleaded guilty in December to first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon and malicious harassment. He was sentenced last month to nearly six years in prison.
According to court documents, McClellan was walking home from a friend's house around 2 a.m. when Mohamed and Baquiring asked the teen for a light. When the teen turned to face the men he was beaten.
For more than four hours, according to court documents, the two men punched McClellan, urinated on him, beat him with his own belt and burned him with cigarettes. They also poured Four Loko on the teen and taunted him by saying, "How do you like it, white boy?" and, "This is for enslaving our people," according to the charges.
Mohamed, who is black, said in his guilty plea that he and Baquiring targeted McClellan "because he was a different race than we are." McClellan is white.
Baquiring, who is Asian, was scheduled to go to trial this month.
After the beating, McClellan went to the hospital, where a police officer took a statement from him. He described his attackers as a black man and a man who appeared to be Filipino. He told the officer the two men had been drinking Four Loko and smoking Marlboro Red cigarettes, court documents say.
The officer then went to the scene of the beating, where he found blood stains, empty Four Loko cans and Marlboro butts, which he gathered as evidence. On his way back to the precinct, according to court documents, he saw two men who matched the suspects' descriptions.
One of them was trying to hide an open Four Loko can in his pocket, according to the police report. The officer contacted the men and noted they had dried blood on their hands and were smoking Marlboro Reds, according to court documents.
He took swabs of the blood on the suspects' hands, but did not take them into custody at that time, according to police.
The victim's family questioned why the men weren't immediately arrested. Tim McClellan had said he believed the delay wrongly cast doubt on his son's account of the attack.
Mohamed and Baquiring were arrested in September after the state crime lab found Shane McClellan's DNA in the blood taken from their hands.