Beating suspect charged with hate crime

Twenty-year-old Davis resident Clayton Daniel Garzon was released from Yolo County Jail last Thursday on a $520,000 bail. Garzon is suspected in the March 10 beating of 31-year-old Lawrence “Mikey” Partida, also a Davis resident.

Garzon pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of assault, battery and criminal threats. The day before his release, Garzon’s bail increased from $75,000 to $520,000 at the urging of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, who charged that the incident was a hate crime and that Partida was targeted because of his sexual orientation.

The beating is being investigated as a hate crime due to the anti-gay slurs allegedly said by Garzon before, during and after the early-morning attack outside a house party on Third and I Streets, which left Partida bleeding, unconscious and in need of hospitalization for a fractured skull, brain hemorrhaging and a broken eye socket.

The bail increase was also supported by the local Sikh community as stated in a press release issued by the American Sikh Political Action Committee (PAC). Sacramento Sikh Temple president Balbir Singh Dhillon mailed a letter to Yolo County Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio urging her to grant the bail increase.

“Hate crime statutes recognize the insidious nature of these crimes by punishing those that seek to place fear in the hearts of our community,” Dhillon stated in the letter. “We request that you protect the community’s safety by setting bail at $500,000.”

The press release also mentioned that when he allegedly attacked Partida, Garzon was out on bail after a September 2012 stabbing in Dixon.

“Clearly, this is not the type of person that can be given the benefit of the doubt with a low bail amount,” said attorney and American Sikh PAC board member Amar Shergill in the press release.

Support for Partida was given in a candlelight vigil held on March 16 in Central Park. On March 18, UC Davis students held an event on the Quad to increase awareness. WunderBar on G Street also held a “Mikey’s Night” on March 22, with a portion of the proceeds going to Partida and his family.

Garzon is currently under the supervision of Yolo County’s Probation Department. He is required to wear a GPS monitoring device at all times, along with a device to detect if he has consumed alcohol. Garzon must also stay 100 yards away from Partida at all times. According to The Davis Enterprise, Garzon’s attorney Linda Parisi said in court last week that Garzon’s allegedly hateful language was merely slang.

“It is an ongoing investigation, and we are trying to maintain the integrity of the investigation because there is still an entire legal process that needs to take its course,” said Lieutenant Glenn Glasgow of the Davis Police Department.

Garzon is due to appear back in court on April 12 for a pre-hearing conference.

MEREDITH STURMER can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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