A white Oregon man who mowed down and killed an African-American teen two years ago in a racially-motivated attack was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday without the possibility of parole for 28 years, OregonLive reported.
Russell Courtier, 40, had hoped for a lighter sentence after a jury found him guilty of murder, hit–and–run driving, and the hate crime of second-degree intimidation last month in the death of Larnell Bruce Jr, 19. Courtier struck the teen with his Jeep after the two got into a fight outside a 7-Eleven in the Portland suburb of Gresham in August 2016.
At trial, prosecutors argued the violent attack was fueled by Courtier’s racist beliefs and pointed to his alleged ties to European Kindred, a white supremacist prison gang. The prosecution said Courtier was wearing the gang’s logo on his baseball cap and had its tattoo on his leg the night he encountered Bruce outside the convenience store.
Security footage showed Bruce standing outside the store when Courtier and his girlfriend, Colleen Hunt, pulled up. A fistfight ensued, although it’s still unclear exactly what started it.
Surveillance video then captured the teen zigzagging down a street and onto a sidewalk in a desperate attempt escape Courtier, who chased him across the parking lot in his Jeep, crossing multiple lanes of oncoming traffic before “intentionally striking [Bruce] with the front of his vehicle.”
People who witnessed the incident said it was Courtier’s girlfriend who encouraged him to strike the teen, shouting “Get him, baby!” and “Run him over!”
Bruce died from his injuries several days later.
Courtier’s eyes welled with tears as Bruce’s distraught family members addressed him in court, The Oregonian reported. The teen’s biological mother, Christina Mines, chided Courtier for his actions that resulted in the death of her son.
“You allowed the devil to misguide you and take the life of such a beautiful young spirit,” Mines said. “You took that life from us. Why? Can you tell me why”
Bruce’s father, Larnell Bruce Sr., said he hopes Courtier spends time in prison thinking about whether he wants his own son, who’s 8, to grow up holding the same racist views.
“That ideology that you have is not good for anybody,” said Bruce Sr.
Courtier declined to make any statements during his sentencing after his lawyers advised him against doing so. The ex-convict, white supremacist gangster is already serving a four-year sentence for his role in a 2015 bar attack, according to the news site.
Prosecutor David Hannon said Courtier was “violent” and “unapologetic” about being a member of the European Kindred gang.
As for Hunt, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for her part in Bruce’s death. She has also penned a letter of apology that’s expected to be made public through her court file.
Watch more in the video below.