Oregon man accused of hate-crime stabbing appears in court

December 24, 2019 GMT

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — A man accused of stabbing another man in a racist attack at an Oregon truck stop has made an initial court appearance.

Malheur County Circuit Court records show 29-year-old Nolan Levi Strauss appeared Monday afternoon on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree bias crime and unlawful use of a weapon. His case has been referred to a grand jury.

Ontario police say Strauss, a commercial truck driver from Nebraska, attacked Ronnell Hughes, a 48-year-old black man, and stabbed him several times in the neck at an Arby’s Restaurant on Saturday morning. They say it was unprovoked, but that Strauss said afterward he did it because he hates black people and wanted to kill Hughes.

Police noted that Strauss has a history of mental illness and had not been taking his medication, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Police said Hughes recently moved to the area and was inside the Pilot truck stop, near the Idaho border, seeking employment when he was attacked.

Arby’s employees intervened and subdued Strauss, police said.

Strauss drives a truck for May Trucking and had been living in his commercial vehicle in the Pilot parking lot since Thursday.

The victim was taken to an Idaho hospital for serious, life-threatening injuries, the affidavit said. Hughes had recently moved to Oregon from North Carolina, according to police.