A Stanton man accused of yelling a racial epithet at another man then using a hatchet to bust out the victim’s car window as he tried to drive away has been charged with a hate crime.
Christopher Robargae, 33, is facing felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and violation of civil rights, as well as a misdemeanor count of vandalism and a sentencing enhancement for allegedly committing a hate crime, court records show.
Prosecutors allege that the confrontation began when Robargae approached a man and his cousin who were playing basketball at a Westminster court and used a racial slur. Robargae then took a swing at the man, but missed, prosecutors added.
The man and his cousin walked away from the basketball court, prosecutors said, and got into a vehicle to drive away.
Prosecutors allege that Robargae followed them, then used a hatchet to smash out the driver’s window.
“We have made it incredibly clear at every opportunity, including statements to the media, public appearances and in court filings that hate will be punished to the fullest extent of the law in Orange County,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “This defendant must not have gotten the message.”
“The full force of the District Attorney will be behind this case so that this defendant and any other person who tries to hate in the future by an act of violence will know Orange County is not a place to be a hater,” Spitzer added.
Robargae on Thursday pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the DA’s office, Robargae has two prior “strikes” for assault with a deadly weapon and burglary convictions. A conviction for the new charges would be a third strike, and would leave him facing up to 38 years to life in prison.
Source: Orange County Register