WASHINGTON: Three years after an unprompted hate crime, a Texas man learned he’ll spend more than a year in prison for attacking a member of the Sikh religion in Dupont Circle.
Dylan Millhausen of Houston, Texas spoke at length to D.C. Superior Court Judge Ronna Lee Beck (pictured below) ahead of his sentencing, saying in part, he was remorseful for assaulting a Sikh man in August 2016.
Members of the Sikh community listened in the courtroom as Mehtab Singh Bakhshi shared his statement over the phone.
“He saw my turban, made up his mind, forcefully removed it and beat me until I was unconscious,” Mehtab Singh said, asking the judge to consider that incidents of hate crimes against Sikh individuals have been increasing across the country.
A jury found the 26-year-old U.S. airman guilty of aggravated assault in August 2018.
Calling the injuries to her client a horrifying scene, Assistant U.S. Attorney Puja Bhatia summarised the circumstances of the crime and played a brief police body camera video of Millhausen minutes after his arrest where he is heard saying, “Is he crying? He didn’t get hurt that bad.”
“He decided to target the one person who didn’t look like him,” Bhatia said in court, attempting to put Millhausen’s lack of empathy on display.
During his trial, D.C. police officers testified Millhausen shared his world view, likening the victim to Islamic extremists to whom terrorist attacks and plots in Europe had been attributed throughout 2016.
Though he refused to take responsibility in a plea deal, Millhausen admitted to the crime ahead of his sentencing, but said he would not accept the prosecution’s portrayal of him as “an uncaring monster.”
“If we met on a different day I’m positive we’d have an amicable relationship,” Millhausen said to the judge of he and Mehtab Singh.
Judge Beck described her sentencing as a dilemma to weigh both the positive changes Millhausen has made his life and his remorseful nature, while sending a message that crimes like this won’t be tolerated in the District.
Millhausen faced 15 years at maximum for the crime but was sentenced to 13 months.
Following a short period of civilian custody in D.C., Millhausen was found guilty of unrelated charges by a military judge in court martial proceedings within the United States Air Force and sentenced to a period of further incarceration, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.