Suspects in Bias Crime

ASHLAND, Ore. – A suspect in an Ashland bias crime turned himself in on Friday.

According to Ashland Police units responded to the Chabad Jewish Center on December 14, for a reported vandalism.

APD says three former SOU students were caught on video throwing eggs at the Jewish Center while yelling “Heil Hitler”.

The suspects, 18-year-old Zachary Demarest of Corvallis and 18-year-old Jacob Wilhelm of Blackfoot, Idaho were soon identified after the video was posted to social media. The third unnamed person was identified but not implicated in the crime.

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara says this incident was extremely hurtful toward the Jewish community and the Ashland community as a whole.

“This does not happen very often but when it does happen we take it very seriously and we’ll investigate it and prosecute it to the fullest extent possible,” said Chief O’Meara.

Demarest was booked into Jackson County jail on charges of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree bias crime. Wilhelm, also charged with second-degree bias crime has also been charged with third-degree criminal mischief via a misdemeanor criminal citation.

Police say although Wilhelm did not partake in the crime to the same extent as Demarest, he can be heard encouraging Demarest and was therefore labeled a co-conspirator.

SOU sent out a statement about the incident and noted that neither man is currently enrolled at the university.

SOU President Rick Bailey saying in a statement, “We want the community to know that antisemitic activities are counter to who we are as an institution, the tolerance that we emphasize, and the inclusive nature that is part of our DNA.”

The University says state and federal privacy laws prevent the school from commenting about specific student conduct and disciplinary proceedings.

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