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Motorcyclist Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison For Hate Crime Attack

Marshall Blanchard on a motorcycle
This photo, provided to WGLT by a demonstrator who witnessed the incident, shows the motorcyclist who allegedly drove into the crowd. Authorities say it was Marshall R. Blanchard of Bloomington.

A Bloomington man convicted of a hate crime for riding his motorcycle into a crowd of protesters last year was sentenced on Friday to seven years in prison.

Marshall Blanchard, 22, pleaded guilty in April to a hate crime and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with an incident in downtown Bloomington. A crowd had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis when Blanchard rode his motorcycle into the crowd, injuring two victims.

Associate Judge William Workman sentenced Blanchard to seven years for leaving the accident scene and a concurrent six-year term for committing a hate crime. He was given credit for 397 days served in jail.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lawson asked for the seven-year term, the maximum sentence the state agreed to under a partially negotiated plea agreement.

Defense lawyers Robert Bouche and Maureen Williams sought a sentence of probation, served as home confinement, or three years in prison, if the judge decided that prison was necessary.

In his statement in court, Blanchard apologized to the victims.

After the hearing, the prosecutor said she was pleased with the sentence.

“It was an appropriate and just sentence, given the situation, and it sends a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated when individuals are exercising their right to peacefully protest,” said Lawson.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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