Three Men Convicted in Hate Crime at the University of California at Davis

The defendants directed racial slurs at the African American victim while two threw candies at her.

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) - October 23, 2017 - Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on October 18, 2017, the third and final defendant pled no contest in the hate crime that occurred on the UC Davis Campus.

The victim, a 21 year old African American female, reported that on February 15, 2016, at about 3:20 a.m., she was dropped off near her apartment in the West Village of the UC Davis Campus. The victim was a UC Davis student and was living on the UC Davis campus. As she was walking to her apartment, she was accosted by a group of four men. The victim was struck in her face and neck with objects that were being thrown by two of the men and three of the men were using racial slurs, calling her the N-word.

The victim reported the incident to the UC Davis Police Department and officers arrested the three men who had targeted the victim. On May 3, 2016, the District Attorney’s Office filed a complaint charging three misdemeanor violations against Lonny Lee Jr. of West Sacramento (26 years old), Jake Lee of West Sacramento (23 years old), and Justin Sheppard of Sacramento (24 years old): Use of force to commit a hate crime, battery, and disturbing the peace. None of the defendants are UC Davis students.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s office worked extensively on the plea agreement with the victim and the UC Davis administration. On September 25, 2017, Justin Sheppard pled no contest to battery and Jake Lee pled no contest to disturbing the peace. Both Jake Lee and Sheppard pled no contest to the use of force to commit a hate crime. On October 18, 2017, Lonny Lee Jr. pled no contest to battery and use of force to commit a hate crime. The defendants were sentenced by the Honorable Daniel P. Maguire. For each defendant, the judgment on the hate crime conviction was deferred. The defendants were each placed on three years of probation. They will be required to stay away from the UC Davis campus, perform community service for under served communities, complete course work on black history in America, and draft an apology letter the victim, as well as other terms. If the defendants violate the terms of their probation they could face up to one and a half years in jail and the hate crime conviction will be entered.

At sentencing the victim gave a statement to the court. She described the negative effects this incident has had on her every day life and that the effects would continue to follow her. She added, “Over time they may get better, but they will never go away. Kayton Carter and Dr. Milton Lang from UC Davis were present. Mr. Carter gave a statement to the court on behalf of the University saying “[She] is one of ours. What happened to her happened to all of us – ethnicity aside – because she belongs to our community.”

District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated, “We worked closely with the victim and the university to obtain a resolution that accounts for the seriousness of the offense but also provides an opportunity for offender rehabilitation, education and community restoration.”

UC Davis Sign