Man charged with hate crime following Christmas Eve assault

NORWICH – 32-year-old Jacob M. Fowlston was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with a hate crime, stemming from an assault charge brought against him Saturday.

It is now alleged that Fowlston, at approximately 3:45 a.m., on Dec. 24, 2016, on Fair Street in Norwich did intentionally commit the crime of assault in the third degree, as a hate crime.

In itself, the assault charge is a class A misdemeanor, and alleges that he “with intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person.”



Following Wednesday’s arrest and the addition of the hate crime allegations, it’s further alleged that the assault involved racial epithets, and Fowlston now faces class E felony charges.

Per New York Penal law, a person is guilty of assault in the third degree as a hate crime if he, “Intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intended to be committed in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct; or intentionally commits the act or acts constituting the offense in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.”

Judge James E. Downey presided over Fowlston’s arraignment which was held Wednesday following his arrest by Norwich Police Department’s Detective-Sergeant Reuben Roach.

Downey said it is alleged that Fowlston followed the victim, David Jennings, down the street and called him three different racial slurs [omitted], before, during and after striking the victim in the head multiple times. Downey said the charges allege it was “because of the victim’s color.”


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