Two Yuba County men plead guilty to assaulting mixed-race couple

Two Yuba County men admitted Tuesday in Sacramento federal court they were driven by race-based hatred when they assaulted a couple because the man is white and the woman is black.

Perry Sylvester Jackson and Billy James Hammett signed off on written plea agreements that say they launched the attack on the night of April 18, 2011, while the couple sat in the front seat of a car in a gas station and convenience store parking lot in Marysville.

Jackson, 28, confessed that at the outset of the episode he called the white man a “n----- lover” and punched him twice in the head through the open front passenger window.

Hammett, 29, acknowledged that, at the same time, he kicked the African American woman in the chest.

A few seconds later, Jackson and Hammett agree, third defendant Anthony Merrell Tyler, also a resident of Yuba County, smashed the car’s windshield with a crowbar. Later Tyler joined in beating the man, his co-defendants claim in the plea agreement.

The plea agreements recount that when an African American woman who witnessed the assault asked Tyler what his problem was, he responded that his “problem” was “people like you n------.”

Tyler, 33, is free on a $150,000 bond pending trial. He is scheduled to be in court for a status conference Jan. 7 before U. S. District Judge John A. Mendez.

Jackson and Hammett have been held without bail as dangerous men since their arrests a year ago. They are to be sentenced March 25 and face up to 10 years in prison. They each pleaded guilty to one count of committing a hate crime.

Hammett and Tyler each sport white supremacist tattoos.

The African American woman managed to take refuge in the store and then all three defendants descended upon the man and began pummeling him mercilessly, according to the plea agreements.

The entire episode was captured on the store’s video surveillance camera.

The man received abrasions on his right forearm and knees, and the woman had chest pains and bruising in her chest area. They are identified in court documents only by initials.