A Federal Way man was sentenced this morning in U.S. District Court to 40 months in prison for viciously beating a Sikh cab driver while making racist statements about Muslims.
Jamie Larson, who turned 50 on Sunday, was originally charged with malicious harassment in King County Superior Court, but the case was turned over to federal prosecutors in March because the federal hate crime law carries a longer possible sentence of up to 10 years.
“I want to apologize to (the victim) and his family,” Larson told U.S. District Judge John Coughenour. “I am ashamed of what I did. I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
Larson pleaded guilty in June to hate crime, but he claimed he remembered nothing of the incident because he had blacked out from drinking when he attacked the 50-year-old cab driver because he mistakenly believed he was Muslim. The driver is an immigrant from India and not a Muslim.
Federal prosecutors, however, point out that Larson has a long history of alcohol-fueled violence, sexually assaulting a neighbor in 2008 and beating an ambulance driver in 2009 while drunk.
Larson, who was living in a Salvation Army residential recovery center in Seattle, had received his first day pass on Oct. 17, 2012, and ended up drunk in Auburn. Auburn police called him a cab to take him to a home in Federal Way, where the assault occurred.
The driver couldn’t work for two months and required months of physical therapy due to his injuries.
Coughenour, the judge, called Larson’s racist comments to the cab driver “the most disgusting, ugly and racist language that I have heard in 30 years on the bench.”