HOUSTON -- A Katy man has pleaded not guilty to a hate crime, in which he’s accused of knocking out an elderly man for fun.
Conrad Barrett, 27, entered the not guilty plea in federal court in Houston.
The criminal complaint was filed under seal Dec. 24, 2013, and unsealed Thursday upon Barrett’s arrest.
The complaint charges Barratt with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. According to the complaint, on Nov. 24, 2013, Barrett attacked the elderly man because of the man’s race and color in what Barrett called a “knockout.”
Barrett allegedly recorded himself on his cell phone attacking the elderly man and showed the video to others. The complaint alleges Barrett made several videos, one in which he identifies himself and another in which he makes a racial slur. In addition, Barrett had allegedly been working up the “courage” to play the knockout game for approximately a week.
The “knockout game” is an assault in which an assailant aims to knockout an unsuspecting victim with one punch. According to the complaint, the conduct has been called other names and there have been similar incidents dating as far back as 1992.
According to the complaint, Barrett comments in a video that “the plan is to see if I were to hit a black person, would this be nationally televised?” The complaint further alleges Barrett claims he would not hit “defenseless people” just moments before punching the elderly man in the face. Barrett allegedly hit the man with such force that the man immediately fell to the ground. Barrett then laughed and said “knockout,” as he ran to his vehicle and fled, according to allegations. The complaint indicates the victim suffered two jaw fractures and was hospitalized for several days as a result of the attack.
Barrett’s lawyer said Barrett is bi-polar and was off his medication.
If convicted, Barrett faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.