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Jury finds Utah man guilty of hate crime after attacking three men he believed were Mexican

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Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 00:41:18-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Following a 5-day trial, a jury has found 51-year-old Alan Covington guilty on three hate crime charges stemming from a 2018 incident, where Covington attacked three men with a metal pole because he believed they were Mexican.

According to court documents, on November 27, 2018, Covington entered a tire shop and shouted at employees that he wanted to "kill Mexicans," and then struck an employee in the head with a metal pole. The father of the victim then rushed over to tend to his son when Covington struck the father in the back with the pole.

A third male, attempted to intervene and chase the suspect away when Convington swung in an attempt to injure the man. Police were able to locate Covington near the tire store with a metal pole and hatchet in his possession.

“In America, we have the right to wake each day and pursue work and family activities without the fear of a violent assault because of our ethnicity or perceived national origin. When an offender violates this basic civil right, we will hold him accountable,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today. “Today, a jury of his peers held Mr. Covington responsible for violating the civil rights of the victims in this case, who were physically injured and traumatized.”

Covington faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. A sentencing date will be set at a later date.

The Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City released a statement following the verdict.

The Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City welcomes the decision reached today by a jury of the Federal Court of the District of Utah, pronouncing Mr. Alan Covington guilty of federal hate crimes, as a result of his attack on a family of Mexicans in this city in November 2018.

With this verdict, justice is obtained for the Mexican family and a clear message is sent that any crime against victims identified by their gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, identity and sexual orientation will be prosecuted to the last consequences.

Since this incident occurred, the Consulate provided support to the victims and closely monitored the criminal investigations that were conducted in the interest of achieving justice. Likewise, the Consulate accompanied the political process that took place in 2019, so that the Utah State Congress and the Governor would approve the SB103 Law that allows prosecuting and effectively condemning crimes for reasons of hatred against specific groups of people.

The Consulate of Mexico expresses its appreciation to the authorities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Utah District Attorney's Office for the investigation and prosecution of the case that led to the conviction of the accused.