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Colorado Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Attacking and Stabbing an Unarmed Black Man

On Thursday, Nolan Strauss, a 27-year-old white man, was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release. The Department of Justice released the news of his sentencing through a press release.  

Nolan had pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill in June. On December 21 2019, Nolan walked into an Arby truck stop shop and stabbed Ronnell Hughes, a black man, on the neck. Ronnell, was awaiting to present documentation for a pending job application on the said day. Nolan attacked Ronnell who was sited calmly from behind. The victim was unarmed.  

Nolan and Ronnell did not know each other, nor had they met before. Nolan, however, decided to attack the innocent and unarmed Ronnell based on his skin color. He stabbed him twice on the neck, and were it not the interruption of a maintenance worker who interrupted making it possible for Ronnell to break free from Nolan, he would be dead today. 

The worker tied Nolan’s hands behind his back with a belt as they awaited the police to arrive. After efforts to resuscitate him failed, Ronnell was rushed to a nearby hospital for specialized treatment. The victim was later airlifted to Boise, Idaho for an emergency surgery.

Responding to the maintenance worker who had inquired why he had attacked a stranger, Nolan said, “Because he was black and I don’t like Black people.” Nolan was arrested on the spot. In an interview with the police, that day explained his beliefs about black people. 

Nolan termed black people as manipulative, lacking morality and not good people. Ronnell, who was present at Thursday’s hearing, said he had never seen Nolan before. “He snuck up behind me. I don’t have any enemies and for someone to just sneak up on me and try to take my life from me I am angry, somebody I don’t even knows”, Ronnell said. 

The slashing was so severe that it had taken Ronnell months of physical therapy to regain his voice and motion in his neck and arm. It had cut his jugular vein and injured his thyroid cartilage. 

In court, Nolan confessed to have attacked Ronnell because of the skin of his color. He said, “I’m extremely sorry for what I did. I wouldn’t do that in my right state of mind. I’m happy that he survived”. Nolan has a history of mental health conditions. His lawyer had tried to argue that his victim acted under the influence of an unstable mind, but the presiding judge overruled the suggestion. 

 

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