Former Pennsylvania healthcare worker sentenced for hate crimes targeting disabled residents

,WJET/WFXP) – A federal judge in Pennsylvania has sentenced a former healthcare worker to a decade in prison after he and another worker were convicted of hate crimes where they targeted disabled residents of an assisted living facility. created.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., 34, and Zachary Dinnell, 29, of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, are accused of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by repeatedly attacking 13 residents of a New Brighton in-patient healthcare facility between June Convicted. 2016 and September 2017.

Smith was sentenced on April 19 to 120 months in prison with three years of supervised release, while his accomplice, Dinnel, was sentenced to 17 years in prison with three years of supervised release. January 2023.

United States Attorney Eric Olshan said in a release that the two men targeted residents who were unable to speak or live independently by punching and kicking them, rubbing hand sanitizer and mouthwash in their eyes and 13 years Captured a video of Smith’s jump at the age of 15. The old resident who was lying on the bed. Dinnel then sent him the video of the incident at Smith’s request.

U.S. Attorney Olshan said, “Today’s sentence holds Tyler Smith accountable for the despicable and outrageous attacks he and Zachary Dinnell committed against more than a dozen victims – simply because they were disabled.” “Hate crimes target and terrorize not only individuals but entire communities. Our hope is that today’s outcome will provide some relief to the victims’ families, who have borne the heavy burden of Smith and Dinnell’s conduct for many years.

Smith admitted to exchanging text messages with Dinnell, where they shared their hostility toward the residents, sharing stories of their attacks and the residents, in addition to encouraging each other to abuse patients. Shared photos and videos.

He also acknowledged that the two were able to avoid detection by specifically targeting residents who were nonverbal and taking advantage of one-on-one sessions.

Smith initially pleaded guilty to hate crimes in December, while Dinnell pleaded guilty in October 2022 before being sentenced in January 2023.