William Hatch Jr
William Hatch Jr
FARMINGTON — A co-defendant in what federal prosecutors called a racially-motivated assault against a mentally disabled Navajo man is back in federal custody after an alleged probation violation.

William Hatch, 31, was arrested April 20 in Farmington on suspicion of drunken driving, according to court documents.

In June 2011, Hatch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which broadened the scope of cases in which federal hate crime laws could be applied.

Hatch was sentenced to 14 months in prison and three years probation. His probation started Feb. 8, 2012.

Hatch and two other defendants, Paul Beebe and Jesse Sanford, were charged in federal court with violating the Matthew Shepard Act after they branded swastikas and wrote racist statements on a 22-year-old Navajo man with a mental disability in April 2010.

The three men were the first defendants in the country to be charged with violating the Matthew Shepard Act. All three pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Beebe was given an eight-year prison sentence, and Sanford received a five-year prison.

In May 2011, Hatch was found not guilty in district court of three crimes related to his involvement in the branding. He was convicted of a fourth-degree felony for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. He was transferred into federal custody in September 2011, according to a state court website.

Hatch's probation for his federal court conviction was scheduled to end in February 2015. One of the conditions of his probation was to abstain from alcohol.

At 3:40 a.m. on April 20, Farmington police said they found Hatch asleep in the driver's seat of a Cadillac Deville parked in the middle of a road north of La Plata Highway and West Main Street.

Officers saw opened beers in the car, and Hatch smelled like alcohol and failed field-sobriety tests, according to court documents. He also admitted to police that he had been drinking alcohol prior to parking his car and that he had fallen asleep in the road, according to court documents.

He declined to take a blood-alcohol content test, police said.

David Teran, Hatch's probation officer, filed a document in federal court on April 30 that Hatch violated his probation. Teran said he based the violation off of Farmington police's statement of probable cause against Hatch and a phone interview he had with Hatch on April 25 in which Hatch admitted to drinking alcohol on April 20.

Ryan Boetel can be reached at rboetel@daily-times.com; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel.