Prosecutors allege hate crime in attempted stabbing of African American man

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County man is being charged with a hate crime, after he allegedly tried to stab his neighbor while using a racial slur. James Scott Lee is white and his victim is black.

Harris County First Assistant Tom Berg says Lee approached his neighbor Tuesday holding a knife and yelling racial slurs.

"I hate N...., and I'm going to kill me one," described Berg. "And that was in the context of carrying a knife in his hand."

Fortunately, the neighbor was able to jump in his car and close the window. He called authorities and was not hurt.

During a probable cause court appearance on Wednesday morning, Lee was visibly upset and disruptive while the charges were read out to him.

He yelled bull---- in front of a room filled with other defendants. "Are you kidding me? That's bull! I'm a United States army general. That's bull, that's a lie. I'm a royal master mason," said Lee.

Lee made his erratic remarks while wearing a leather vest. An "SS" symbol is visible on the vest, along with other military style markings.

Lee's erratic behavior and unusual clothing choice did not go unnoticed by prosecutors who are working on the case. They also say he has a past history of beating up people.

"This defendant has a prior history of misdemeanor (assaulting) behavior, a domestic assault," said Berg.

Prosecutors say Lee tried to use his knife, but in court Wednesday, Lee said he had a gun. He made a hand motion of a gun while in court, and repeatedly stated, "I used a gun."

Prosecutors say fortunately, the victim wasn't hurt. They say it's rare to add the hate crime enhancement because it can be difficult to prove. This they say won't be one of those times. The hate crime enhancement means Lee could spend up to 20 years behind bars if he is found guilty.

He is currently in jail on a $250,000 bond.

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