The man who allegedly stabbed an Auto Zone employee in Columbus, Georgia, last week made his first appearance in court on Thursday.
“Jayvon Hatchett, 19, is charged with aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime,” according to WRBL.
Columbus Police Sgt. R.S. Mills told the court that when he asked the suspect why he stabbed the employee, he said he “felt the need to find a white male to kill” after watching videos of police shootings online.
“According to court records, Hatchett was free on bond after being charged just three days before the stabbing with criminal damage to property,” WLTZ reported, adding that he was arrested for two felonies including aggravated assault six months before.
In court Thursday, Judge Julius Hunter ordered Hatchett undergo a mental health evaluation and declined to issue bond.
“Hatchett’s case was bound over to Superior Court,” the WLTZ report said.
Committing a crime against a person because of their race allowed for tougher sentencing under the hate crime law signed recently by Gov. Brian Kemp, according to WTVM.
“There is not a hate crime charge that can be added at the law enforcement level, but if proven in court the judge can add years to a prison sentence,” the report said.
Incoming District Attorney Mark Jones told the outlet if the allegations against Hatchett were true, he “should be charged with aggravated battery with a hate crime sentencing enhancement if convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“The reports of the Auto Zone incident are deeply concerning to me because I am committed to reducing violence in our great city. However, each case warrants a full and promptly [sic] investigation of the incident and we currently don’t know the entire story,” Jones added.
The 51-year-old white male victim was listed in critical condition on Wednesday, but expected to recover, WTVM reported.