Daytona Beach man gets one year in jail for insulting Asians

Man who scribbled racial slurs against Asians on a New Smyrna Beach family’s vehicles and nailed their driveway has been sentenced to nearly a year in county jail followed by subpoena residence and probation.

A jury sentenced Kyle Christiansen, 34, of Daytona Beach, on June 8, to two counts of criminal mischief with hate crimes enhancements. The charges and enhancements made each charge a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison each.

“It’s like it’s an act of terror,” circuit judge Dennis Craig told Christiansen during the sentencing. “You did terrorize a family, that’s what you did. Probably without even taking it into account, you just needed to act on your hatred and prejudices.

But Christiansen did not have a criminal record, so he did not score high enough on state sentencing guidelines to allow the judge to send him to jail during the hearing. Tuesday at the S. James Foxman Justice Center.

Christiansen, who also had mental health issues according to court records, got a 10 on sentencing guidelines. A score of 22 allows a judge to sentence someone to prison and a score of 44 requires a prison sentence.

Initial arrest:Hate Crime Charged with Vandalism of Dentist’s Vehicle in New Smyrna Beach

Christiansen condemned:The sentence could go up to 30 years

Kyle Christiansen

In addition to sentencing Christiansen to 364 days in prison, Craig also said the prison sentence would be followed by three years of community control, which essentially consists of house arrest. Craig said the house arrest would be followed by seven years probation. Christiansen received credit for 38 days in the Volusia County Branch Jail.

“I have viewed the facts of this case as a prison case and not necessarily a short-term prison case,” Craig told Christiansen.

Craig added that he did not believe Christiansen’s mental health played a role in the hate crimes.

“I think it’s obvious from the facts that it’s the stigma you took these steps for, not the mental health issue,” Craig said. “Regarding the mental health problem, I have nothing to indicate that the mental health problems you have are the cause of such hatred and acting on such hatred against people you do not know. not even.”

The judge also ordered Christiansen to have no contact with the victims and to stay away from their workplace. He ordered Christiansen to undergo a mental health assessment and banned her from using the internet except for online courses approved by his probation officer.

Christiansen was also ordered to pay $ 5,000 in restitution to the victims for damage to the vehicle and a half-day of lost work.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans on the rise since COVID

Since COVID-19 began to spread across the United States and the country began to shut down in March 2020, Asian Americans have reported a significant increase in hate crimes, harassment and discrimination .

From March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received reports of 6,603 hate crime incidents, according to a national report from the organization that combats hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Verbal harassment represented 65.2% of incidents and avoidance (deliberate avoidance) represented 18.1% of reported incidents, according to the group. Physical assault was the third highest at 12.6%, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

In March, a man shot dead eight people, including six Asian women, at spas in and around Atlanta.

The hate crime case in New Smyrna Beach did not involve physical violence against people, but did involve the psychological violence of threats and the terror left behind by hate vandalism.

The judge said he took Christiansen’s threatening language seriously, but went above and beyond.

“It was more than words,” Craig said. “You have already taken a step beyond the hateful language, the threats and the words you have used.”

The News-Journal does not report the names of the victims because the case involved a hate crime.

The original case

Asian racist slurs were painted orange on July 29, 2020, on the side of a black van owned by a male family member at the Venetian Bay home, according to a police report. An Asian insult was also painted on the gray Honda sedan of the man’s sister-in-law parked outside the house.

Nails were also placed on the driveway.

The victim’s wife told police that on July 24, 2020, she received a Facebook message from an account with the name “Pine Cone” that had a profile picture of a squirrel. The Facebook post contained Asian slurs targeting her and her husband and claimed they must die from rat poison, the indictment reads.

She said in a statement that the Facebook posts used slurs and referred to people of Vietnamese descent.

The victim’s wife said Christiansen was one of her patients in her dental office, according to the affidavit. Her husband is also a dentist. The woman said Christiansen went to her office to have her teeth cleaned the day before she received Pine Cone’s Facebook message, the indictment reads.

In her testimony, the woman said Christiansen was a new patient and was perhaps surprised that she was Asian. She said that perhaps based on her last name, which is not Asian, Christiansen may have expected a white doctor.

Facebook user “Pine Cone” also sent messages to the Immigration Office in the Philippines in May and September 2020 warning them that he was planning to stab the first Filipino he saw in his town due to how her brother was treated while visiting the Philippines, according to the affidavit.

Deputy State Attorney Sarah Thomas on Tuesday asked the victims during the sentencing to recount what happened after finding out about the slurs and the Facebook post.

The female victim discovered it at her office when her husband called her “frantically”. She said he was “really shaken up”.

“We shouldn’t have to live with this”

She said the threats and slurs prompted her office to conduct emergency drills in case the person came to harm them.

“We shouldn’t have to live with this,” she said. “We were afraid for our lives. We should just be treating our patients. But we had to make sure the door was locked and every patient who came to the door had to be confirmed that it was a patient who had an appointment.

She added, “It just terrified us and at that point I was six months pregnant, almost seven months pregnant. It made me even more helpless. “

She said that even though Christiansen is incarcerated, they are still worried because he will eventually be released.

Her husband testified that they lived in fear until Christiansen’s trial. After the incident, he installed security cameras around the house.

“I thought of the worst; that someone was trying to kill us, ”he said. “It really worried me for the safety of my family.

And he said they still worry.

“What happens when he’s out?” ” he said. “What will prevent him from going any further?” This is my biggest fear. “

Christiansen’s defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Brian Hyer, had asked the judge to sentence him to probation.

Christiansen’s father had sent a letter to the judge of a psychologist, Shawn T. Prichard, who had treated Christiansen from 2006 to 2010 and had followed him since. The psychologist wrote that Christiansen had been under psychiatric treatment since the age of 5 for various disorders, including psychotic disorders. He wrote that during the treatment Christiansen was prescribed at least 32 different drugs but, according to his parents, none helped.

The psychologist said Christiansen’s parents told him he currently refuses to take it.

Hyer asked Christiansen if he was sorry.

“Yes,” Christiansen replied.

Hyer asked him if he thought his mental health issues had sometimes kept him from acting appropriately.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Hyer asked him about any future treatment.

“If I had to take medication, I would have to deal with it, but I feel like I’m fine without medication,” Christiansen said. “I just want to move on.”

When the lawyer spoke about his imprisonment, Christiansen said it was a “frightening experience” and replied that he “certainly” didn’t want to see the interior of a prison again.

Christiansen said he wanted to go back to school to continue working on his bachelor’s degree and return to his health food delivery job.

Turning to the judge, Christiansen said, “I swear it. I promise. I will never do something like this again. I promise.”

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