“I’m happy that they are finally treating this as a hate crime, which it is,” the victim’s father, Larnell Bruce Sr. said.
Black teen, Larnell Malik Bruce Jr. was killed back in August by a hit-and-run driver, Russell Courtier and his girlfriend, Colleen Hunt. According to a newly released indictment in Oregon, the suspects for the teen’s murder have been accused of intentionally causing lethal harm to the victim because of his skin color.
Courtier, 38, an ex-con with a long history of misdemeanor and violence, and his 35-year-old girlfriend, Hunt are already facing murder charges in connection with the teen’s death. But they received additional charges of first- and second-degree intimidation on Monday, which now classifies the incident as a hate crime.
It was revealed by a Multnomah County grand jury that the couple acted together to kill Bruce because he was Black. Courtier, who has got a tattoo of a white supremacist gang ‘European Kindred,’ pleaded not guilty to the hate crime charges. And the couple also previously pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.
On August 10, Bruce was visiting his mother in Gresham when he got into a short altercation with Courtier in front of a convenience store. The both of them got into a war of words before Courtier slammed Bruce’s head into the storefront window. Bruce reacted by producing a machete, which scared Courtier as he went back to his car.
Witnesses at the scene of the incident stated that while Bruce was walking away from the place, Hunt was urging Courtier on to run the teen over with their vehicle. Of course, Courtier heeded her advice and sped towards the teen, who fled in order to escape being hit. Unfortunately, Bruce couldn’t get far enough and he was run over by Courtier’s red Jeep Wrangler. When the police arrived, they found the victim lying on the floor severely injured and he was rushed to a hospital, but he died a few days later.
The police caught Courtier and took him into custody, where he allegedly said he was annoyed at Bruce for pulling a weapon on him and he intentionally hit the teen with the front of his vehicle. Courtier, who has spent a chunk of his adult life in police custody, was reportedly on parole at the time of the incident, after he was convicted of using a knife to attack a woman.
The victim’s father lamented the decision of the officers who set Courtier free. He said: “Here you have a violent criminal and he is able to get out of jail simply because of something like overcrowding or parole. If he had been held fully accountable for his prior actions he would not have been able to do this. Letting him out was just as reckless as leaving a loaded gun on a playground.”
Courtier and Hunt remain in custody without bond, as they await their next court appearance on October 3.
This case shouldn’t be one to drag on for a while, as it is completely obvious the white supremacist all but wanted to kill the innocent boy. We expect Courtier and Hunt to receive capital punishments and hope the double standards of the judicial system don’t come into play once more.