Members of the Sikh community listened in the courtroom as Mehtab Bakhshi shared his statement over the phone.
“He saw my turban, made up his mind, forcefully removed it and beat me until I was unconscious,” Bakhshi said, asking the judge to consider that incidents of hate crimes against Sikh individuals have been increasing across the country.
Calling the injuries to her client a horrifying scene, Assistant U.S. Attorney Puja Bhatia summarized the circumstances of the crime and played a brief police body camera video of Millhausen minutes after his arrest where he is heard saying, “Is he crying? He didn’t get hurt that bad.”
“He decided to target the one person who didn’t look like him,” Bhatia said in court, attempting to put Millhausen’s lack of empathy on display.
During his trial, D.C. police officers testified Millhausen shared his world view, likening the victim to Islamic extremists to whom terrorist attacks and plots in Europe had been attributed throughout 2016.
Though he refused to take responsibility in a plea deal, Millhausen admitted to the crime ahead of his sentencing, but said he would not accept the prosecution’s portrayal of him as “an uncaring monster.”
“If we met on a different day I’m positive we’d have an amicable relationship,” Millhausen said to the judge of he and Bakhshi.
Judge Beck described her sentencing as a dilemma to weigh both the positive changes Millhausen has made his life and his remorseful nature, while sending a message that crimes like this won’t be tolerated in the District.
Millhausen faced 15 years at maximum for the crime but was sentenced to 13 months.
Following a short period of civilian custody in D.C., Millhausen was found guilty of unrelated charges by a military judge in court martial proceedings within the United States Air Force and sentenced to a period of further incarceration, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
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