The Cayuga County man at the center of an incident last year that sparked a call for hate crimes charges pleaded guilty in Cayuga County court on Tuesday.
According to the Citizen, 51-year old Eric Simmons disputed some of the facts presented by DA Jon Budelmann in the incident in which he had his 14-year old son drive him to a North Road home. Simmons fired a shotgun blast into the air in an attempt to scare the family renting the home. He was arrested after his son crashed into a ditch.
Community leaders asked the sheriff’s office to consider the incident a hate crime because one of the victims was black. State Police investigators determined there was not enough evidence to charge Simmons with a racially motivated hate crime.