An Amazon employee in Virginia has been convicted of assaulting a coworker because he was gay.
James William Hill admitted he attacked an unnamed co-worker at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chester, Virginia, in May 2015. On Tuesday, Hill was found guilty of violating the Matthew Shepard Act of 2009, which added crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation to existing federal hate-crime laws.
Hill, 36, told police he disliked LGBT people, adding that “people who are gay should expect to be assaulted because of their sexual orientation,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office told WTVR-TV.
A district court judge initially dismissed the case against Hill in 2016, claiming hate-crime statutes weren’t applied properly. (Virginia’s hate-crimes law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity). Prosecutors appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s ruling and sent the case back for trial.
Hill now faces up to 10 years in prison.