A Steamboat Springs man accused of spray-painting a swastika and several racial slurs on a vehicle appeared in court Tuesday.
Alex Timothy Hynes, 22, was arrested Aug. 13 on suspicion of harassment, menacing and ethnic intimidation after he allegedly got into a verbal altercation with a man Aug. 12 and then defaced the man's vehicle with white paint, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said.
Routt County Judge James Garrecht told Hynes he could face as many as three years in prison and a $100,000 fine if he is convicted on the menacing charge, which is a felony offense. Garrecht also told Hynes he could face as many as 18 months in Routt County Jail and a $5,000 fine if he is convicted on the ethnic intimidation charge, which is a misdemeanor crime.
Hynes had the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty Tuesday but instead opted to speak with District Attorney Kerry St. James to try to resolve the case.
Hynes also is facing charges in other cases. He is being charged with violating previous probation conditions stemming from a separate incident.
Garrecht told Hynes that he would bind the case over to District Court so that Hynes might be able to reach an agreement with the District Attorney's Office on all of his pending cases.
Rae said Hynes had been at a party in the 200 block of Fourth Street when he got into a verbal altercation with the victim. Rae said Hynes reportedly yelled racial slurs at the man and threatened him with a knife. Hynes was kicked out of the party and told not to return.
When Hynes returned to the party a second time, the residents called police. A report was taken at the time of the incident.
The man noticed the damage to his car the morning after the party and called police.
A similar hate crime occurred Aug. 12 involving the same types of slurs written with mustard and ketchup on a car parked in a Colorado Mountain College parking lot. Police Sgt. Nick Bosick said he does not think the two crimes are related.
Hynes will appear Sept. 2 in District Court.