Maine Men Indicted on New Hate Crime Charges After Allegedly Committing Two Racially Motivated Attacks on the Same Day

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Two Maine men are facing new state and federal charges after prosecutors say they committed two hate crimes in two separate cities on the same day.

Suspects Dusty Leo, 28, and Maurice Diggins, 34, of Biddeford, Maine, were already indicted on federal hate crime charges in connection to a racially charged attack against an African-American man in their town last April. The pair is accused of assaulting the man outside a 7-Eleven, before traveling 18 miles up the road and assaulting another Black man outside a bar in Portland, breaking his jaw in the attack.

Maine hate crime
Maurice Higgins and Dusty Leo are facing federal hate crime charges, as well as state assault charges for their racist attacks on two Black men in 2018. (Image courtesy of AP)

On March 1, a grand jury handed down a new federal indictment, including additional hate crime charges, related to the second attack, according to the Press Herald. Leo and Diggins now each face up to five years in prison on a single count of “conspiracy to commit a hate crime,” as well as two counts of committing hate crime — which carry a maximum 10-year sentence and fines of up to $250,000.

The men also still face state assault charges in the Biddeford incident, the newspaper reported.

Diggins pleaded not guilty to the new criminal charges on Monday, and Leo is scheduled for a hearing on the new indictment next week. Both men have also denied the initial charges against them and plan to fight, according to their lawyers.

The latest indictment claims Leo and Diggins approached a group Black men outside a Portland bar just after midnight on April 15, pelted them with racial slurs and, without provocation, hit one of the men and broke his jaw. The pair the assaulted the two other men before attempting to follow the man whose jaw they broke as he fled to safety.

Police interviewed the pair at the scene, after which they were free to go.

Later that night, prosecutors said the partners in crime pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot in Biddeford, where they hurled racial epithets at another African-American man, saying, “Who you eyeballing, n—-r?” That’s when Diggins exited his car and approached the man before repeating his racist comment, the indictment states. As Diggins placed himself between the man and the store’s entrance, Leo ran up from behind and hit him over the head, breaking his jaw as well.

According to the report, the two men carry lengthy criminal histories, and court documents state that Diggins, 34, has a “Dirty White Boy” tattoo as well as swastikas.

“Neither Diggins nor Leo showed up to answer the civil rights complaint and a default judgment ordered them to stay away from the victim in the Biddeford assault, bars them from committing other hate crimes and warns them against contacting witnesses,” the Press Herald reported. “If they violate the judgment, they could face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.”

Their federal trial has been scheduled for May.

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