Seattle Times Eastside bureau
Friday, January 5, 2007 - 12:00 AM
Two men accused of racially harassing and beating their supervisor in Bellevue pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday.
The pleas were entered by Randy Welborn, 48, and Randall Stencel, 52, before King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler.
Both men are being prosecuted under a state hate-crime statute that makes a race-related assault a felony.
Each man is accused of malicious harassment and assault following a dispute that took place in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott hotel at 110th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street about 3 a.m. Dec. 23.
Both men worked as tree trimmers doing contract work through the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. for Puget Sound Energy after the December windstorm, according to court documents.
The incident started as Welborn and Stencel began making comments about "the Mexicans taking all the jobs," Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hogan said during the men's arraignment Thursday.
The comments led to a supervisor approaching the men and asking them to stop their remarks, Hogan said.
Instead, the men, who are white, began taunting the supervisor, Desmond Lindsey, who is black, Hogan said.
Welborn called Lindsey racial names, talked about "white pride" and the Ku Klux Klan, according to the charges, and then began punching Lindsey in the head. Stencel told Welborn to beat Lindsey, the charges continued, and joined the attack, with Welborn then pushing his thumbs into Lindsey's eyes.
Bellevue police were called and the men were arrested. Both men were believed to be intoxicated, Hogan added.
Lindsey did not appear in court and is believed to have returned to his home in California, Hogan said.
Asplundh spokeswoman Kristin Wild said Thursday that the company had no comment other than the case is under investigation by its risk-management section and that it could not say whether the men have been fired.
Stencel, of Washougal, Clark County, who had been released after posting a $2,500 bond, refused comment when approached outside the courtroom.
Welborn, of Fairview, Ore., remains in King County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail, with Kessler denying a motion to reduce bail.
A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17.
Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or firstname.lastname@example.org