Former OSU student sentenced to 40 days for hate crime

Andrew Joseph Oswalt, 28, will spend 40 days in jail and serve three years probation.

Posted: Dec. 12, 2018 12:12 PM
Updated: Jan. 18, 2019 3:00 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The former Oregon State University student found guilty of putting racist bumper stickers on cars outside of an anti-racism meeting in Corvallis was sentenced to 40 days in jail and three years of probation on Wednesday.

Andrew Joseph Oswalt, 28, has also been ordered to pay a fine of $500, and a no-contact order was issued between him and the victims.

"Our community expressed a value that hate crimes are not welcome in this community," Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said.  "What we saw today was justice being served on a standard that is being embraced by our community."

Oswalt was found guilty of putting racist bumper stickers on other people's cars outside a "Standing Up for Racial Justice" meeting in June 2017.

In court, Benton County Circuit Court Judge David Connell said Oswalt sowed seeds of hatred in the community.

Susan Breckenridge, one of the victims, wanted Oswalt to do community service with minority groups, if they were willing to participate.

"I believe that aiding and interacting with a wide diversity of people has the potential for creating greater understanding and acceptance of others resulting in a more just world for all," Breckenridge said.

Oswalt argued for a lesser sentence with no jail time. He told the judge he plans to leave the state as soon as possible.

"You may be offended by my beliefs, but I do not pose a danger to anyone in this community or the state," Oswalt told the judge.

Chris Knutson, a friend of Oswalt, said he wants the tragedy to be minimized. He told KEZI 9 News he doesn’t agree with what Oswalt did or what he believes in, but he’s worried that spending time behind bars could cause Oswalt to get deeper into white supremacy.

Connell sentenced Oswalt to 30 days for one count of first-degree intimidation, a hate crime, and 10 days for one count of third-degree criminal mischief.

Oswalt was initially found guilty of three counts of first-degree intimidation and two counts of third-degree criminal mischief. At the hearing on Dec. 12, those charges were merged into two counts.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office took Oswalt into custody after the hearing.

Oswalt was a Ph.D. candidate at OSU.

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