A former Lincoln man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly stabbing a Black man sitting in a fast food restaurant in December.
A federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon, returned a one-count indictment this week charging Nolan Levi Strauss, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a hate crime involving an attempt to kill.
According to the indictment, on the morning of Dec. 21, 2019, a 48-year-old Black man arrived at an Arby’s restaurant adjoining the Pilot Travel Center in Ontario, Oregon, where he planned to provide final documentation for a pending job application.
He was sitting in the lobby waiting for the manager when Strauss, unprovoked and without warning, approached him from behind and stabbed him in the neck, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said.
Following a struggle for the knife, the man freed himself, and Strauss was detained by store employees, who said he told them he did it because the man was Black, "and I don’t like Black people.”
The stabbing resulted in two cuts to the victim’s neck. Afterward, he was life-flighted to Boise, Idaho, for emergency surgery.
Strauss spent time in the Oregon State Hospital until June, when a judge found him mentally fit for the state court case against him to proceed. Then came the indictment.
Strauss is set to make his first appearance in federal court in October.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
He had lived in Lincoln as recently as 2018, when he was sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting a Lincoln police officer.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Ontario Police Department, Oregon State Police, and the Malheur County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Cameron A. Bell, Trial Attorney for the Civil Rights Division.