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3rd man charged in alleged racially motivated attack on missionary

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Feb. 24, 2020 at 7:01 p.m.


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PROVO — The third man arrested in connection with an alleged hate crime against a black missionary was formally charged Monday.

Nathan W. Thomas, 19, of Santaquin, was charged in 4th District Court with assault, a third-degree felony. He is now listed as a co-defendent along with brothers Sebastian Francis West, 19, and Malachi Bay West, 20, of Payson, who were also charged with assault. If convicted, the trio could face hate crime and gang enhancements at sentencing.

Police also announced last week that two juveniles, 16- and 17-year-old boys, had also been arrested. The 17-year-old was arrested for investigation of assault and criminal mischief. The 16-year-old was arrested for investigation of aggravated assault, obstructing justice and criminal mischief, according to police.

On Jan. 28, two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived at a home in Payson to visit a family, when they noticed a group of six to seven males threatening one of the residents, according to charging documents.

One of the missionaries, who is Panamanian, asked the group to leave. When they refused, the missionary pulled out his phone to call police, the charges state. That’s when the group took the missionary’s phone, threw it and began focusing their aggression on him.

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“They swore and yelled at (the victim), repeatedly called him (the N-word) and told him to go back to where he came from. At one point, one of the suspects brandished spiked, brass knuckles on both fists and took a fighting stance. The same person struck the brass knuckles together several times, making a loud, metallic sound. This caused (the victim) to feel intimidated and afraid,” the charges state.

As the missionary tried to go into the house, he was tackled and then “punched and kicked repeatedly by the group,” who continued calling him the same racial slur while making statements such as “go home you stupid (racial slur),” “this is our town (racial slur),” “this is our turf you (racial slur),” and “go back to slavery stupid (racial slur),” charging documents state.

The group also called the missionary “church boy” and told him to “go back to Bible school you filthy, stupid (racial slur),” the charges state.

The missionary was treated at the scene for injuries to head, ribs, forehead and lips, according to the charges. The missionary’s companion, who is white, was not harmed.

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