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Man faces federal hate crime charge in Capitol Hill knife attack

The suspect in a January knife assault against three men on Capitol Hill faces a federal hate crime charge according to court documents unsealed this week.

Prosecutors say Troy Deacon Burns threatened the men with a knife while yelling homophobic slurs near Harvard and Pike in the January 25th attack. Because the knife “travelled in interstate commerce,” prosecutors are charging the defendant in federal court:Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 11.33.23 AM

According to investigators, Burns had been living in shelters, is addicted to drugs, and was on Capitol Hill to sell meth the night of the crime. Prosecutors identify him as a Bremerton, Washington resident.

The hate crime case helped spark a wave of concern this year about anti-gay bias crimes on Capitol Hill. Last week, Mayor Ed Murray’s LGBTQ task force released its report with recommendations for strengthening the gay community and increasing safety in the city. Other efforts underway include SPD’s Safe Place program and a new nighttime LGBTQ safety shuttle.

“When he signed the Shephard/Byrd Hate crimes prevention act into law, President Obama said ‘no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.’  It is just that sort of fear this defendant engendered with his attack,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes in a statement on the charge.  “This federal prosecution demonstrates our commitment to protecting all the residents in our district from bias motivated attacks.”

If convicted, Burns faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

UPDATE 8/7/2015 1:30 PM: KING5 reports Burns has pleaded guilty.

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4 thoughts on “Man faces federal hate crime charge in Capitol Hill knife attack” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. The transient meth addicts and mentally ill that camp in the neighborhood all summer long are a real safety problem in the neighborhood. Yes we need to take a housing first approach, but we also need to take a much tougher stance against the sketch factor that was pushed out of the downtown business district and up Capitol Hill. Why do we tolerate this crap? Send them back to Bremerton, Bonney Lake and California. Other cities around the world (except are neighbors along the west coast) are not like this. We need to get our heads out of the sand, stop pretending that the situation is a result of high rents, and and finally grow a spine. Call 911 when you see illegal activity every time and call the police chief and elected officials to tell them to act. That is the only way the situation will change. There should be children playing in the park not herroin addicts shooting up on the playground equipment, shitting in the bushes, stealing bikes,, and threatening us with knives.

    • Exactly. Get them treatment, and if they don’t want it, get them out of here — or let them die of their own overdoses on their own.

      10,000 people don’t need to have our neighborhood ruined so 200 can choose to come and sell drugs and be violent scum.

    • I agree with everything you said, except the part about housing first. Seattle could build 5000 units for the homeless and it would just attract more homeless to the city.