An Oregon man accused of unleashing a brutal, homophobic attack on a gay couple because he didn't approve of the color of their pink poodle has been indicted on federal charges.
On March 1, 26-year-old David Beltier said he was walking his poodle whose fur was temporarily dyed pink, with boyfriend, Jeremy Mark, when the suspect pulled up beside them in an SUV. The man, later identified as 22-year-old transient George Mason Jr., allegedly began hurling homophobic slurs and making fun of their dog before exiting the vehicle and punching Beltier. He is accused of retrieving a metal wrench from his car and hitting Beltier in the back of the head.
"He was saying your poodle is a weird color and that's just un-American and F-you, you f--- and shouting," Mark told local Fox station KPTV. "It just really hurts to know people are out there still like that. Who cares if my dog is pink. It's not their dog. So leave me alone," added Beltier.
The victim told The Oregonian he believes the color of his dog set off the alleged assailant.
"Honestly, I feel like the pink poodle provoked him," Beltier said in March. "We weren't holding hands or anything. Just walking the dog like normal."
Mason was slapped with one charge of a federal "hate crime act" last week, according to KCTV. He was also charged with second-degree intimidation, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless driving. Intimidation falls under the state's bias-crime statute, the station notes.
The suspect “willfully caused bodily injury and, through the use of a dangerous weapon, attempted to cause bodily injury to (Beltier), who is gay, because of (Beltier’s) actual and perceived sexual orientation,” read court documents obtained by the Associated Press.
KOIN reports Mason's wife, Saraya Gardner, was also cited in the federal indictment for reportedly interfering with a police officer. She allegedly lied to the police about Mason's whereabouts while they were searching for him and lied about the weapon used during the assault.
Mason faces up to 10 years in prison, while Gardner faces up to 20 years, according to the report.