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Three Convicted of Federal Hate Crimes for Shooting Black Men

November 15, 1995 GMT

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ Three men were convicted of federal hate crimes for shooting three black men, one fatally, during what prosecutors said was a hunting trip to try to start a race war.

Jurors took about 2 1/2 hours Tuesday to convict the men, who were described as a skinhead and two Hispanic cousins.

Ricky Rivera Mungia, 25, Eli Trevino Mungia, 21, and Roy Ray Martin, 20, face life in prison without parole. U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings will determine the sentence at a later hearing.

The three also will be tried on state charges of murder and attempted murder. They do not face the death penalty.

Prosecutors said the men went out hunting blacks in October 1994, and during a 20-minute rampage on the streets and sidewalks of Lubbock shot three black men with a shotgun in an attempt to start a race war.

The three had talked about ``how they hate `niggers’ and `coons,′ how they wish they never existed, how good life would be without them and how `the only good nigger was a dead nigger,‴ according to court documents.

Melvin Johnson, 37, died on a curb from neck wounds. The two other men survived shots to the face and hand.

The prosecution’s main witness was Michael Lingo, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi skinhead who testified that the three defendants had talked of the shootings.

Blood and gun evidence corroborated Lingo’s testimony, prosecutor Tom Perez said.

Ricky Mungia’s mother defended her son. ``It was just wrong because he isn’t a racist,″ Sandra Macias said through tears.

Defense lawyer Floyd Holder conceded, ``It’s just hard to believe that it’s a coincidence they were all black.″ He added, however, that no one proved that racial hatred motivated the shootings.