A 71-year-old Texan woman has been charged with an alleged hate crime after reportedly beating and attempting to choke her 25-year-old gay neighbor.
Wanda Derby of Richland Hills is reported to have attacked Lloyd Guerrero with her walking cane, beating him with it and then attempting to choke him when he came over to help her son move in with him.
“I guess she got enraged and she just started whooping him with a cane,” [Detective Tye Bell with Richland Hills police] said.
Bell said the man suffered bruises to his body and neck but was treated at the scene by Richland Hills police.
She … called the man “faggot” several times when talking to police and told them that he had AIDS and would give it to her son, Bell said.
“Her statements were very biased toward sexual preference and that gave us the probable cause to file that as a hate crime,” Bell said.
It is also reported that Derby hit Guerrero’s mother when she attempted to phone the police.
Derby is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — enhanced as a hate crime — and is also charged with assault causing bodily injury. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon carries a maximum 20-year prison term in Texas but enhanced as a hate crime the possible sentence increases to life behind bars.
As to how Derby was able to assault a 25 year-old man, Guerrero said that when faced with Derby’s attack he did not want to fight back against her because she is 71 and he did not want to harm her.
Derby, according to her Facebook wall, suffered a stroke at the beginning of March that left her feeling “weak,” though it would seem she has made a decent physical recovery since then.
Guerrero says that this attack was the culmination of weeks of hostility and that it has had wider repercussions than just this one event.
Guerrero said Derby has repeatedly called him a slur referring to his sexual orientation.
“I was very offended,” he said. “You just don’t go around calling people names because. It’s just not normal.”
He also said she posted messages about him online.
“She put on Facebook that I had AIDS and that I was going to die soon from AIDS anyway,” he said.
His friends saw the postings and he said he’s had to reassure them he doesn’t have the disease.
As touched on above, the attack was apparently triggered by the fact that Derby’s son is moving in with Guerrero, though it should be noted that the exact nature of their relationship has not been reported on at this time.
Regardless, it appears her son’s moving in with Guerrero was enough to cause a serious rift.
Derby reportedly wrote on her Facebook wall just hours before the alleged attack:
“My son Steven is no longer my son. He has sided with the idiots next door to me and I guess he [thinks] they will take care of him. He will never get another thing from me or his dad. We have washed our hands of him.”
According to reports Derby has now been released from jail on a $11,500 bond.
You can see a video interview with Guerrero here.