Two men have pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for attacking a Black man at a Family Dollar store in Citrus Springs because of the victim’s actual and perceived race.
On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 55-year-old Roy Lamar Lashley pleaded guilty. Earlier this month, 52-year-old Robert Dewayne Lashley had also pleaded guilty.
According to the plea agreement, on November 17, 2021, Roy and Robert traveled to the Family Dollar store in Citrus Springs. The victim was shopping inside, and Roy repeatedly used racial slurs inside the store in reference to the victim. Roy and Robert then proceeded to follow the victim into the store’s parking lot.
While in the parking lot, Roy retrieved an axe handle from the bed of his pickup truck and struck the victim multiple times with it. During the attack, Robert also struck the victim multiple times.
The plea agreement states that Roy and Robert both directed racial slurs towards the victim before, during, and after the attack.
The victim sustained injuries to his face and legs, including a laceration to the inside of his mouth.
“Racially motivated and hate-fueled attacks on Black people have no place in this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As we mark 13 years since passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, we renew our commitment to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to prosecute unlawful acts of hate.”
“Civil rights investigations are at the heart of what we do at the FBI,” Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks for the FBI Jacksonville Field Division. “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim; they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community.”
Onks stated that investigating hate crimes is among the FBI’s highest priorities, and the FBI will continue to work with law enforcement partners to seek justice for the victims and their communities.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. Robert and Roy are both facing a maximum term of 10 years imprisonment, three years of mandatory supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Robert and Roy were both charged in an indictment that was unsealed on June 17, 2022. The indictment charged them with willfully causing bodily injury to the victim because of the victim’s actual and perceived race.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg, and Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks made the announcement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigated the matter. Trial Attorneys Maura White and Matthew Tannenbaum of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hamilton for the Middle District of Florida, are prosecuting the case.