AP

Wisconsin man gets 10 years in prison for racist acid attack

May 18, 2022, 8:46 AM | Updated: 12:00 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge sentenced a white Wisconsin man to a decade in prison Wednesday for throwing acid in a Latino man’s face in a racist attack at a Milwaukee bus stop.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jean Marie Kies told 64-year-old Clifton Blackwell that he acted with hate when he threw the acid on Mahud Villalaz in November 2019. She said he wasn’t provoked and that his behavior was “diabolical.”

“We’re all different from one another. … When we let those differences cloud our judgment, that’s bias or prejudice or discrimination, and in this instance it is hate,” the judge told Blackwell. “I’m sure (the acid) was absolutely painful. And you caused him emotional distress that I think is never going to heal. You made him feel he’s not worthy and that’s diabolical.”

Villalaz testified that the vision in his left eye was permanently damaged by the attack, and the judge said Villalaz suffered second-degree burns.

Blackwell attended the hearing in a wheelchair dressed in a jail jumpsuit. Asked if he had anything to say before the sentence was handed down, he said Villalaz “still scares me very much.”

“I regret that it all happened,” he said. “I’m still scared I could drop dead of a heart attack right now as far as I know. I would definitely do it differently.”

Blackwell’s attorney, Michael Plaisted, asked Kies to sentence Blackwell to two to three years in prison. He argued that Blackwell isn’t part of any hate group and he was carrying the acid only to protect himself. He noted that Blackwell has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorders.

Plaisted acknowledged that Blackwell might have decided to argue with Villalaz because of his ethnicity, but he said Blackwell wasn’t trying to provoke a fight.

“I don’t think anyone should take too much from what’s happened in this case, although I think people have based (their perceptions) on limited information,” Plaisted said. “He was not out that day to hurt anyone, but he did and he stands here convicted.”

Kies said she didn’t hear any remorse from Blackwell and that she needed to send a message to the community that attacking people because of their race isn’t acceptable.

“You don’t tolerate other people,” the judge told him.

Blackwell was waiting for a bus when he told Villalaz that he had parked his truck illegally in a bus stop zone outside of a restaurant, according to prosecutors. Blackwell could be seen on surveillance video retrieving a bottle of acidic drain cleaner from his satchel.

Villalaz moved his truck and headed back toward the restaurant. He argued with Blackwell again and Blackwell threw the acid in his face.

A jury convicted Blackwell last month of first-degree reckless injury with use of a dangerous weapon as a hate crime. Jurors rejected Blackwell’s arguments that he was frightened because Villalaz was so angry and that he splashed Villalaz with the acid as Villalaz was preparing to hit him.

Villalaz, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from Peru, testified that he was angry because Blackwell told him that he had invaded his country and should “go back.”

Kies tacked five years of extended supervision onto Blackwell’s sentence, telling him that Villalaz is as much of a U.S. citizen as he is.

___

Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter: https://twitter.com/trichmond1

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

15 hours ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

17 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

3 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

3 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

3 days ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Wisconsin man gets 10 years in prison for racist acid attack