CEDAR RAPIDS — A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Dubuque man, convicted of a hate crime for kicking and stomping a black man in the head, to the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade said evidence in the trial of Randy Joe Metcalf, convicted of assaulting Lamarr Sandridge, showed the incident was a “brutal and outrageous attack.” She urged the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to watch the surveillance video of the attack on Sandridge, who was already semiconscious on the floor, if the appeals court questioned the jury’s guilty verdict or her decision to give Metcalf the maximum sentence.
A jury convicted Metcalf, 40, on March 30 in U.S. District Court of committing a hate crime by causing bodily injury to Sandridge, 31, based on race. Trial testimony showed Metcalf stomped and kicked Sandridge in the head multiple times during a fight at the North Side Bar in Dubuque on June 12, 2015.
Metcalf was also ordered to pay $1,874 in restitution, which is divided among Sandridge, his insurance company and the Crime Victim’s Compensation Program.
Court documents show Metcalf has changed his last name pending sentencing, taking the last name of his wife, Noelle Weyker, who he married in June while in custody. He then asked the court to change his name in this case to “Randy Weyker,” but Reade declined to remove Metcalf from the file and instead, ruled to add “a/k/a Randy Weyker.”
Reade said Wednesday he was convicted as Metcalf, so she would continue to call him that during sentencing.
During the hearing, Metcalf apologized for assaulting Sandridge, but said it wasn’t based on “race, color or religion.”
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During trial, Ted Stackis, owner of the bar, testified Metcalf showed him his swastika tattoo and talked about participating in cross burnings before the brawl started. Several other witnesses testified Metcalf assaulted Sandridge after making racial slurs, including the N-word, to him and making other derogatory comments to the two white female friends he was with that night.
Several defense witnesses testified that Metcalf isn’t racist and they never heard him use the N-word.
Noelle Weyker, of Dubuque, testified at trial she only heard Metcalf use the N-word in a “friendly” way or singing it in a song.
During sentencing, The jury viewed the video Reade referenced, which captured the brutal assault. Two friends of Metcalf’s also participated in the fight.
The video shows Metcalf kicking and stomping on Sandridge’s head after he is already on the floor. At that point, a bartender kicks out Metcalf and his friends, but then Metcalf comes back in the bar to get his jacket and proceeds to kick and stomp Sandridge again while he’s unconscious on the floor.
Becky Burkes, the bartender, testified the assault happened when Sandridge’s female friend knocked a cellphone out of Noelle Weyker’s hand.
Sandridge testified at trial he didn’t remember the assault or the racial slurs. He remembered Metcalf cursing and swearing at his friends and an argument over the jukebox, but didn’t remember anything until he woke up in an emergency room.
Sandridge didn’t attend the sentencing hearing and declined to submit a victim impact statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt said.
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Reade said it was surprising Sandridge didn’t have more injuries. Sandridge testified he had a broken orbital bone, facial swelling, cuts and bruising to his right eye, a blood clot in his left eye, a sprained ankle and memory loss. He also couldn’t see out of one eye for a period of time.
Reade noted that she had never had a hate crime like this as a federal or state judge. She said she was relying on the sentencing guidelines, but departed from the guidelines based on the nature of the offense and Metcalf’s violent criminal history, noting he was a “high risk” to commit future crimes.
Metcalf has several convictions, starting at the age of 15, for assaults, mostly against women, Reade said.
“He’s a serious danger to the community, especially if you are a woman or a person not able to defend yourself,” Reade said.
Morfitt previously said this is the first conviction on this particular charge in the Northern District. It’s a fairly new statute, but there were some convictions under a similar law involving cross burnings in Dubuque back in the 1990s.
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