Formal Hate Crime Charges Filed Against Payson Men Accused Of Attacking Black Missionary

Feb 18, 2020, 7:56 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm
Malachi Bay West and Sebastian Francis West. (Courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office)...
Malachi Bay West and Sebastian Francis West. (Courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office)
(Courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office)

PROVO, Utah – Officials with the Utah County Attorney’s Office have filed formal hate crime charges against two Payson men accused of attacking a black missionary serving for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January.

Malachi Bay West, 20, and Sebastian Francis West, 19, were arrested in connection with the assault on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Both were formally charged on Tuesday, according to the Utah County Attorney’s Office.

No update was given regarding the four others who were allegedly involved in the assault.

“As Utah County Attorney, I express my appreciation to the Payson Police Department for their exemplary investigation into these despicable acts. My deepest sympathies extend to the victims in this case, which not only include the victim, but also to those in our county who may feel less safe because they belong to a minority,” said Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt. “Everyone deserves to have an expectation of safety. I take my responsibility seriously to do my part to protect our society from these types of horrendous acts.”

The victim, who police identified as a black male from Panama, told officers he and his companion were walking to teach a family in the area when they encountered a group of six individuals.

Police said members of the group began yelling and swearing at the victim, repeatedly using racial slurs and telling him “to get out of their ‘hood.'”

The victim also reported the group threatened to kill his mother and mocked his religion, calling him a “church boy.”

Police said the group then attacked the victim, who was able to free himself and ran away from the group with his companion.

Leavitt said that he also, “wants to remind the public that while allegations have been made and charges have been filed, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”

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Formal Hate Crime Charges Filed Against Payson Men Accused Of Attacking Black Missionary