REGIONAL: Concord man convicted of federal hate crimes

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, January 11, 2024

From the Department of Justice:

A jury Thursday in Greensboro convicted Marian Hudak, 52, for committing a hate crime against a Black man and a Hispanic man on separate occasions.

“It’s one thing to use racial slurs and harbor the KKK’s flag, but carrying out acts of violence fueled by naked racial animus and hatred violates the law and core principles of our democracy. The defendant was held accountable for his violent and unlawful attacks on Black and Hispanic members of his community,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously investigate and prosecute violence targeting people because of their race or national origin. All community members should be able to live in and move about their neighborhoods without fear of attack because of how they look or where they are from.”

“All people — regardless of the color of their skin or their nationality — are entitled to travel on public roads and enjoy their homes without fear of being threatened, harassed or intimidated,” said U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina. “We appreciate the law enforcement agencies who diligently sought justice in this case. The Concord community is safer and more peaceful as a result of today’s verdict.”

“Investigating civil rights violations is some of the most important work we do,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert M. DeWitt of the FBI Charlotte Field Office. “No one should be afraid to drive down the street, fill their car with gas or take their children to the bus stop because of someone’s intolerance and racial hatred. The FBI hopes this guilty verdict can give Mr. Hudak’s victims some sense of peace.”

Evidence at trial proved that, on Oct. 13, 2022, Hudak encountered a Black man, identified as J.S., while driving in Concord, and shouted racial slurs at him. After telling J.S. to “come here, boy,” Hudak swerved into J.S.’s lane, got out of his vehicle and punched J.S.’s driver’s side window multiple times. When J.S. fled, Hudak chased him to his home where he continued shouting racial slurs and threatened to shoot and kill him.

Evidence at trial also proved that on Nov. 27, 2021, Hudak attacked his Hispanic neighbor, J.D., outside J.D.’s home because of his nationality. Hudak shouted racially charged insults at J.D. before attacking him. Hudak punched and tackled J.D., causing J.D. to suffer bodily injury. Additional trial witnesses testified about Hudak’s frequent anti-Hispanic comments, both before and after the attack on J.D., and about other instances where Hudak shouted slurs at, gave the middle finger to and drove aggressively near other minority motorists in the Concord area. Other evidence included a KKK flag, a racist publication and Nazi memorabilia found in Hudak’s residence.

On June 26, 2023, Hudak was charged with willfully injuring, intimidating or interfering with J.S. because of J.S.’s race and color and because J.S. was using a public facility. Hudak was charged with willfully injuring, intimidating or interfering with J.D. because of J.D.’s race and national origin and because J.D. was occupying a dwelling.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 1. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI Charlotte Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashley Waid and JoAnna McFadden for the Middle District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Daniel Grunert of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.