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Three San Jose State University students face just six months in jail for assaulting their African-American roommate. The jury Monday issued guilty verdicts on misdemeanor battery charges, but not the more serious hate crime offense, NBC News reports.

The trio – Colin Warren and Logan Beaschler, now 20, and Joseph “Brett” Bomgardner, 21 – plus a fourth defendant charged as a juvenile, engaged in multiple acts of race-based bullying in 2013 against then 17-year-old Donald Williams Jr.

The incidents included putting a U-shaped bicycle lock around Williams’s neck, attempting to lock him in a closet, and displaying a Confederate flag in their room, the network reports.

Following the jury’s decision, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen made this comment, via NBC:

“This violence did not happen in a historical vacuum. This violent act was done to a young black college student by five white men, an injustice inflicted upon him because of the color of his skin.”

According to the network’s report, the defense team argued that the incidents were simply pranks. Sam Polverino, the attorney for one of the defendants, did not want to comment on the verdict because of a pending civil lawsuit.

University officials expelled all four students and plan to hire a chief diversity officer, according to NBC.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 14. Meanwhile, the prosecutor said he may seek a retrial on the hate crime charges.



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