A man convicted of a federal hate crime after attacking a Black man and his family in Largo last year was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison.
According to court documents, Jordan Patrick Leahy, who is white, pursued the Black man and his family for roughly a mile on Aug. 8, 2021, while driving drunk and shouting racist slurs. The man, his girlfriend and his preschool-aged daughter were driving home from a dinner in Seminole.
Leahy sideswiped the family’s vehicle, then gave a Nazi salute and gestured with his hands to pretend he was shooting into the vehicle, deputies said. Leahy then got out of his vehicle at the intersection of Bryan Dairy and Starkey roads and punched the man.
Using his background in martial arts, the man was able to get Leahy into a “submission hold” until police arrived, according to court documents.
Leahy told deputies he had “wanted to fight a random colored person,” according to his arrest affidavit.
Leahy, 30, faced criminal charges both in Florida state court and federal court. Leahy pleaded guilty to state charges of felony battery and driving under the influence on Dec. 28, 2021. He was sentenced to probation on the state charges but served six months in jail after violating his probation.
A federal grand jury indicted Leahy on federal hate crime charges in April, and a jury found him guilty of one count in August.
Leahy had faced up to 10 years in prison after his conviction on the federal hate crime charge. Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of four years and nine months in prison. Leahy’s defense attorney, Sam Landes, asked for a prison sentence of four to 10 months.
Landes said Leahy did not begin expressing racist sentiments until after he served time in prison, where inmates separated themselves by race. He argued that his client was not an unrepentant “hopelessly racist” man but rather someone trying to get a reaction out of others.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors noted that Leahy previously served time in prison for stalking his ex-girlfriend, and they said he had a fascination with mass shootings. When Leahy was arrested, he told deputies he wanted to carry out a mass shooting to kill 70 to 80 people and that “society needs to be concerned how easily he can conduct a mass shooting,” according to his arrest report.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton Gammons argued that Leahy should receive a longer prison sentence in order to protect the community.
“This is a random, unprovoked act of violence,” Gammons said of Leahy’s crime.
said he initially planned to sentence Leahy to 30 months in federal prison, but he settled on a 24-month sentence after prosecutors and the defense agreed that Leahy should be given credit for the six months he served in Pinellas County Jail on the state charges. Leahy also must serve three years of supervised release, including a year confined to his home.
After the sentencing, Leahy took a moment to address the court. He said he wanted to apologize and felt like a “scumbag” when he found out the victim’s child had been in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
“It’s embarrassing to my family, and I’m just ashamed of it,” he said.
The family did not attend the sentencing Monday, but Gammons read a statement the man had sent.
In the statement, the man said he had seen extremism in the media, but he had never experienced it himself until Leahy chased him down last year. He said he didn’t want to think about Leahy again and decided not to attend the sentencing because he didn’t want to give the case any more energy.
“I choose peace,” he wrote.