The half-brother of Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot dead during the Jan. 6 riot, was convicted of a hate crime this week and now faces up to year in jail.
Roger Stefan Witthoeft, Jr., 34, of Ocean Beach, Calif., was convicted of misdemeanor battery with a hate crime allegation and violating a victim’s civil rights, San Diego District Attorney Mara W. Elliott said in a statement Wednesday.
“This jury has sent a clear message that violent, abusive, and racist conduct like this has no place in our community,” Elliott wrote. “My Office will continue to prosecute and hold accountable people who commit hate crimes, and I urge victims and witnesses to report all such activity.”
Witthoeft was charged earlier this year following a confrontation with a Latino San Diego Gas & Electric traffic controller in Sept. 2021. Prosecutors alleged that Witthoeft slapped the worker, pounded on his hard had, and shouted “a number of racial slurs.” He eventually shouted, “Go back to your country, you f—king immigrant!”
The San Diego Union-Tribute reported in May that Witthoeft cited his half-sister’s death in a failed attempted to avoid the charges, arguing he suffered “extreme stress and trauma” following the events of Jan. 6. Babbitt’s husband had previously told FOX5 that the siblings were estranged for at least six months before to the incident.
According to Elliott’s statement, Witthoeft was previously convicted of vandalism in 2016, when he kicked in the door and window of an elderly Latino man’s camper shell.
He now faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13.