Victim, mother share harassment tales in hate crime case

Lewiston, Idaho (AP) 9-07

A 13-year-old American Indian girl and her mother say they have been constantly harassed since the girl was beaten two weeks ago.

Prosecutors say the teen’s beating was a hate crime and allege that brothers Michael S. Moody, 22, and David C. Moody, 18, intimidated her in anticipation of the trial. The Moody brothers are each charged with two counts of felony attempted witness intimidation, accused of chanting “white power” at the girl and her mother three days after the beating.

At the men’s preliminary hearing September 24th in Nez Perce County Magistrate Court, the teen and her mother testified that they have moved twice and the girl has transferred schools since the beating on Sept. 12.

Court documents say the beating occurred outside an apartment complex where a group of men were yelling “white power” and “white pride.”

The teen was walking by the apartment complex at the time, according to prosecutors, and said something to the effect of, “What about Native pride?”

Court documents say a woman then punched the teen, knocking her to the ground. When the teen began to fight back, an older woman kicked her in the head and stomach. The teen, who suffered injuries to her face and arm, was treated and released from a local hospital.

Jill R. Grant, 40, and her 21-year-old daughter, Ashley N. Grant, have each been charged with one count of felony malicious harassment in connection with the beating, and four other people – including the Moodys – have been charged with felony attempted witness intimidation in the days since the beating. Preliminary hearings for 19-year-old Jason R. Grant and a 16-year-old boy are scheduled to be held separately from the Moody’s proceedings.

The girl and her mother testified that on Sept. 15, they were returning to their apartment from picking up a cousin a few blocks away when two or three men began yelling “white power” as they made their way through Pioneer Park.

When asked by public defender Robert Van Idour, the girl said “white power” was the only phrase she heard the men shout. But the teen’s mother testified that the two men also use other obscenities considered degrading to American Indians.

The girl’s mother said she feared for her life and for the life of her child because of the initial attack. The two walked quickly back to their apartment, she said, where they called 911.

“I thought they were going to attack us because we were Native American, because we were the only Native Americans on the street at that time, and the rest were white,” the mother said.

Lewiston police Officer Mike Rigney testified that police officers watched the incident with binoculars.

“They were chanting ‘white power’ and raising their fist into the air,” Rigney said.

Rigney testified their actions were characteristic of neo-Nazism.

In talking to the men later, Rigney said, Michael Moody allegedly first denied chanting the slogans but later “became remorseful” and said he no longer believed in that ideology.

Rigney then arrested Michael Moody and Jason Grant. About an hour later, after watching two people shout the same phrases below the girl’s apartment window, officers arrested David Moody and the 16-year-old boy, Rigney testified.

Defense attorneys Van Idour and Neil Cox asked the judge to dismiss the case, contending the brothers were protected by the First Amendments’ promise of freedom of expression.

But county Deputy Prosecutor Nancy Berger-Schneider said both men knew about the earlier beating and that the girl and her mother had already been subpoenaed into court.

Magistrate Judge Gregory Kalbfleisch agreed with the prosecutor, saying if the two men had simply been chanting the phrase they probably wouldn’t have faced criminal arrests. But given the earlier beating and the other evidence, there was probable cause that a crime had taken place, Kalbfleisch ruled.

Both men are scheduled to appear before District Judge Jeff M. Brudie on Oct. 10. Their bond remains at $50,000.

Information from:
Lewiston Tribune,