Daniel Wilson, 22, and Alexis Mendoza, a 17 year old who is being tried as an adult, both pled not guilty on April 1 to a charge of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and denied the hate-crime allegation, according to the newspaper. Mendoza, who was driving a car, also pled not guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted, Wilson faces up to eight years in prison, and Mendoza faces up to 13 years in custody.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Bal was waiting to be picked up to go to work while wearing his Sikh articles of faith — a blue turban and a long white beard — when two men allegedly stopped their car, got out of the car, chased Bal down the street, beat him while shouting obscenities, and then hit him with their car.
"We are glad to see that arrests have been made in this heinous crime,” Harsimran Kaur, legal director of The Sikh Coalition, which is representing Bal, told NBC News. “We thank Chief Dyer and the Fresno Police Department for their tireless effort investigating this case and for recommending that the suspects be charged with a hate crime enhancement."
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a press conference last week that evidence collected by the Fresno Police and the FBI indicate that Bal was targeted for wearing his Sikh articles of faith. A video released by the police shows a car veering to hit Bal as he tries to run away. Bal has since recovered, according to the Fresno Bee.