The case against Tyler Cruse, accused of using racial slurs and assaulting a 64-year-old man in June, was bound over Tuesday to Hall County District Court.
County Judge Arthur Wetzel said the majority of the evidence against Cruse is circumstantial. But the state met the burden of probable cause needed to send the case to District Court, he said.
Cruse, 20, is charged with attempt of a Class 2A felony, terroristic threats and assault — third degree/hate crime.
Those crimes allegedly occurred June 11 at 1124 W. Third St.
Grand Island police officer Chrystian Banuelos was the only witness to testify at Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.
Banuelos said he met with the victim, Juan Hernandez-Alvarado, at CHI Health St. Francis within 12 to 24 hours of the assault.
Hernandez-Alvarado told the officer that two men came to his door the night of June 11. He was awakened by one of the men banging on his front door. The man was yelling in English for someone to answer the door, the officer testified. The man yelled that Hernandez-Alvarado was going to be assaulted because he was Mexican, the victim said.
Hernandez-Alvarado said the larger white male kicked the front door and was the one who assaulted him. Two sons came to Hernandez-Alvarado’s assistance when they heard him calling for help, Hernandez-Alvarado told Banuelos. In answer to questions from defense attorney Robert Alexander, Banuelos also talked about the other steps in his investigation.
Alexander said the assault could just as easily have been carried out by someone else. He also said just because someone was banging on the door doesn’t mean it was attempted burglary.
In his conclusion, Wetzel pointed out that Cruse is not being charged with burglary, but with attempt at a Class 2A felony.
The victim, Wetzel noted, said the assault was done by a large white man. Cruse was described Tuesday as being 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. His companion that night was Matthew Lickliter. Banuelos said Lickliter is skinny with long hair of a different color.
Wetzel pointed out that Cruse’s knuckles were found to be bloody.
In answer to a question from Alexander, Banuelos said Hernandez-Alvarado could have supplied more information.
In an interview with The Independent in June, Cruse said he and his companion weren’t trying to burglarize the house. He was trying to retrieve car keys for a friend of his girlfriend’s sister. Instead of attacking a 64-year-old man, Cruse says he was the one beaten up. He also said he is not racist.
District Court arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 10.