The Justice Department in a statement it released on Tuesday alleges James William Hill, III, of Chester on May 22, 2015, assaulted a man because of his “actual and perceived sexual orientation.” GayRVA reported the incident took place at an Amazon shipping facility in Chesterfield County.
Chesterfield County prosecutors in May 2015 charged Hill with assault in connection with the alleged incident.
Virginia’s hate crimes law does not include sexual orientation.
GayRVA reported that Chesterfield County prosecutors decided to “null prosse” the case, which would allow them to charge Hill at a later date. GayRVA cited sources within the Chesterfield Police Department who said they had expected federal authorities to charge him under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Hill is the first person in Virginia indicated under the law that President Obama signed in 2009.
Hill faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.