Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 10:44 PM

Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

A 32-year-old Huber Heights man was arrested Wednesday on a charge accusing him of committing a hate crime when federal authorities said he attacked a man outside a Cincinnati restaurant because the man identified himself as Jewish. 

Izmir Koch -- also under indictment in Montgomery County involving a June 2016 fight on Valley Street in Dayton -- remains in federal custody following his arrest on one count of committing a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Koch already has appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. 

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According to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday, Koch was outside a restaurant with others on Feb. 4, 2017, when he allegedly yelled out asking if anyone outside the restaurant was Jewish. 

A victim responded that he was Jewish and it is alleged that Koch then ran to the man and punched him in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Koch and others continued hitting and kicking him. 

The victim suffered injuries from the attack, including rib contusions and a fracture of his orbital floor - the bottom portion of an eye socket. 

"Physically attacking someone because you think he's Jewish or Christian or Muslim or any other religion is a federal crime," U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said in the prepared statement. "This office prosecutes hate crimes." 

According to one Cincinnati media report, the victim was not actually Jewish, Glassman said at a news conference. 

KOCH INDICTED IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY

A check of Montgomery County online court records shows that Koch was indicted in July 2016 on two counts of felonious assault (deadly weapon and serious harm). The status of the case is labeled "reopened" and a motion in the case was filed Tuesday. 

In that motion filed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, Koch and at least five other men accused of assaulting a man in a fight and stabbing June 7, 2016, outside SMS Trucking, 1602 Valley St., are claiming self-defense.

RELATED: 6 indicted in Valley Street fight, stabbing

The fracas involved men of Russian descent, police have said. 

One of the co-defendants claimed to a police detective that they committed the assault because the man "made disparaging comments about their mothers, and their culture does not permit such comments." 

The co-defendant also told the detective they all fought with the man because "they were not scared of him and they needed to handle the situation on their own." 

The prosecutor's office has asked the trial judge to compel the co-defendant to testify as to those statements. 

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