A 38-year-old Bremerton man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for threatening three gay men with a knife on Seattle’s Capitol Hill in January.
A Bremerton man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for yelling homophobic slurs and threatening three gay men with a knife on Capitol Hill in January.
Troy Burns, 38, faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 10. However, under a plea agreement Friday, federal prosecutors said they will recommend a sentence at the low end of the range, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Burns was on Capitol Hill on Jan. 25 when he is accused of accosting three men who were walking on East Pike Street, according to prosecutors.
The men told police Burns yelled homophobic slurs and appeared to be “in an agitated state.”
Most Read Local Stories
- Inslee: Washington to lift COVID restrictions by June 30; right now, mask rules eased for vaccinated people
- 'Great day for America': Vaccinated can largely ditch masks
- Northern lights may grace the skies tonight. Here are the best times to see them in Seattle.
- Expect travel delays this summer after ferry fire sends ripples through Puget Sound fleet
- Coronavirus daily news updates, May 13: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
Prosecutors say Burns was holding a knife at waist level when he looked directly at the men and repeated the slurs.
One of the men said Burns threatened to stab them and then Burns “flipped the hood of his sweat shirt over his head, raised the knife so it was in a stabbing position, and ran toward the three men,” prosecutors alleged.
The three men ran, but Burns was on the heels of one of the men, whom he threatened to stab in the back of the neck, prosecutors said.
Police saw Burns chasing one of the men and ordered Burns to the ground, according to the document.
“Upon seeing the officers, Burns immediately put the knife away in his pocket and began walking toward the officers stating that he had not done anything,” according to the document charging Burns with a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Seattle police said Burns continued to yell slurs even after he was placed in the patrol car, according to the charges.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Burns claimed he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the assault and does not remember his actions.
U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes said Burns was charged in federal court to show that her office takes bias crimes seriously.