Clifton Blackwell sentenced to 10 years in prison for Milwaukee hate crime acid attack
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Clifton Blackwell, a Milwaukee man found guilty of a hate crime for throwing acid at a Latino man in 2019, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years of extended supervision.
A jury found Blackwell guilty on April 28.
Before Judge Jean Kies announced the sentence, she gave Blackwell an opportunity to address the court as well as Mahud Villalaz, the Peruvian immigrant and U.S. citizen he threw acid at.
"He still scares me very much," Blackwell said referring to Villalaz. "I regret that it all happened. I'm still scared that I could drop dead of a heart attack right now as far as I know and I would definitely do it differently."
Judge Kies then addressed Blackwell.
"What you did here was hateful, sir," Judge Kies said. "The jury found that. And I say to you, sir, hate hath no place here."
Kies ultimately went with the state's recommendation of ten years in prison and five years of extended supervision.
"I feel so supportive for this decision," Villalaz told reporters after the sentencing hearing. "I feel the judge made me feel like that like I'm a real American citizen too."
Villalaz said he was disappointed Blackwell did not offer an apology.
"I am first of all sad about what he said about me that he was afraid of me, I just want to hear him kind of say anything remorseful or anything, but he didn't."
Villalaz said he was happy to tell his family that, "justice prevailed."
The incident happened in November of 2019.
Blackwell was waiting for a bus near 13th and Cleveland after getting groceries. Muhad Villalaz had initially parked his pickup truck in the bus stop lane.
That is what sparked the incident. According to Blackwell, he told Villalaz several times parking in that spot was illegal and would result in his truck being ticketed and towed. He also asked Villalaz why he didn't obey the laws of Blackwell's country, implying Villalaz was not a U.S. citizen. That moment was part of the prosecution's case that what Blackwell committed was hate crime because they alleged Blackwell targeted Villalaz based on his ethnicity, nationality or immigration status.
Security video shows Villalaz and Blackwell arguing with Blackwell taking out a can from his bag but eventually Villalaz retreats to his pickup and moves it to park in a different spot.
When he returned, the two argued again. Villalaz told police and jurors Blackwell called him an "illegal." At the climax of the interaction, Villalaz called Blackwell a "racist [explitive]." Video shows Villalaz move forward towards Blackwell and that is when Blackwell throws acid at Villalaz.
Blackwell's attorney aimed to frame the moment as one where Villalaz was about to attack Blackwell and Blackwell acted in self-defense, throwing the acid.