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Sentencing scheduled in hate-crime attack

A 21-year-old Kent man, who pleaded guilty to a hate-crime attack against a Kent taxi-cab driver is scheduled to be sentenced at 3:30 p.m. Friday before Judge Monica Benton at the King County Superior Courthouse in Seattle.

Luis A. Vazquez pleaded guilty to charges of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime law, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in connection with an attack last year on a Kent taxi-cab driver.

King County prosecutors will recommend a sentence of two years. Prosecutors also will ask the court to order Vazquez to pay restitution for the victim’s medical expenses, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

Vazquez attacked cabbie Sukhvir Singh, 48, during a ride home Nov. 24 along Interstate 5 in Seattle. Vazquez struck Singh with his fists and told him, “You are an Iraqi terrorist,” according to charging papers.

Vazquez punched Singh on the side of the face and then bit the back of his head, tearing the hair and scalp away, according to the charging papers. When Singh stopped the car on the side of the highway and fled, Vazquez followed Singh, hitting him again and knocking him to the ground.

Singh, born in India, and a member of the Sikh religion, was treated at Valley Medical Center in Renton for a variety of issues following the attack including kidney problems.

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