Court Battles

Man to plead guilty in hate crimes attack on Turkish restaurant in Beverly Hills

A 23-year-old man is expected to plead guilty to charges in connection to a hate crime that targeted a Turkish restaurant in Beverly Hills, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced in a statement on Wednesday. 

According to a plea agreement filed on Monday, William Stepanyan, who is Armenian-American, agreed to plead guilty to one conspiracy charge and one hate crime charge in an attack the injured five people, federal prosecutors said.

Stepanyan faces a maximum 15 years in federal prison. He is expected to enter the plea in coming weeks.

The Hill has reached out to Stepanyan’s lawyer for comment.

Stepanyan sent a text message on Nov. 4, 2020, saying that he was planning on “hunting for [T]urks,” according to his plea agreement. He met with several other people later in the day to “to protest what they considered to be Turkish aggression against Armenians, express their contempt for Turkey and show their support for Armenia,” according to prosecutors.

A family-owned Turkish restaurant was the scene of the attack when Stepanyan and another co-defendant went to the restaurant and started throwing chairs at people and yelling slurs, according to prosecutors. 

Prosecutors noted that four of the five victims were of Turkish descent. “We came to kill you! We will kill you!” was allegedly shouted by at least one of the defendants, prosecutors said.

The restaurant had to temporarily close and sustained $20,000 worth of damage.

Tags Hate crime US Attorney's Office

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