Three Marion men implicated in an attack on migrant workers that authorities say was racially motivated pleaded not guilty Thursday to hate crimes.
Prosecutors say Edward L. Hubbs, 26, Daniel J. Devine, 25, and Karl Trent, 46, assaulted a group of Asian mushroom pickers at a campground in Marion. The men, who are white, have been charged with malicious intimidation or harassment relating to civil or human rights, a felony.
Authorities say the men went to the campsite July 12 and allegedly hurled racial slurs and beer bottles at the mushroom pickers. Hubbs is accused of firing several rounds from a rifle into the air to intimidate the migrants.
The alleged attack at the campground followed a confrontation at a convenience store that involved Hubbs and the migrants, Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan said.
The sheriff said detectives believe Hubbs confronted the mushroom pickers after his sister thought she overheard them threatening to beat him up.
But Hubbs’ attorney, Lane K. Bennett, said the migrants instigated the incident and were waiting for Hubbs outside the store because they thought he had said something disrespectful when he asked if they were waiting in line.
If convicted, the men face up to five years in prison a $5,000 fine each.
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