Huber Heights man convicted in federal hate crime case

HUBER HEIGHTS — A 33-year-old Huber Heights man was convicted in U.S. District Court Monday for committing a hate crime after federal authorities said he attacked a man outside a Cincinnati restaurant because the man identified himself as Jewish, according to a release by the U.S. Department of Justice.

FIRST REPORT: Huber Heights man accused in federal hate crime case

Izmir Koch -- who was also found guilty in Montgomery County due to his involvement in a June 2016 fight on Valley Street in Dayton -- has been in federal custody since his arrest on March 21 on one count of committing a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Koch was also found to have lied to the FBI about his role in the religiously motivated assault.

RELATED: 4 guilty in 2016 beating in Dayton

According to a federal indictment unsealed, 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 a half dozen of his friends 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.

RELATED: 6 indicted in Valley Street stabbing, fight 

“All people should be able to live their lives freely and without fear of violence or aggressive acts of intimidation,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.

After the incident occurred, Koch made a voluntary statement to the FBI, accompanied by his attorney. Koch falsely told the FBI he was not involved in the fight and he had not said anything disparaging about Jews, the release stated.

“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting anyone who harms someone because of their actual or perceived religion and lies to law enforcement to cover up the crime,” said Dreiband.

This is the first conviction under the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the Southern District of Ohio.