Suspect who beat Houston landscaper linked to brutal bus attack from 2018

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man is now facing hate crime allegations after an attack on a landscaper in the museum district in June.

Chester Irving is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly beating Paciano Gonzalez-Hernandez while he was landscaping someone's yard.

Prosecutors added a hate crime enhancement to the charge this week.

"The biggest problem with someone like Mr. Irving is when they have that hate in their heart like they do, they tend to believe they are correct," said Steven Belt, the prosecutor on the case. "I will tell Mr. Irving and anyone else in our community that there is no room in our community for hate."

SEE ALSO: Houston landscaper brutally beaten on the job over parking dispute

Paciano spent four days in the hospital after being knocked unconscious on June 26 over a parking dispute.

"I don't understand why he hit me," the longtime landscaper told ABC13 in a July interview. "I don't say nothing, only tell him 'Hey if you want to park right here, no problem. I won't cut the grass right here. I'll go over there.'"

Even after he was on the ground in a pool of his own blood, Paciano's wife, Amalia, said Irving kept beating her husband and yelling racial slurs.

"'I want to send to Mexico,'" she recalled. "'You don't have to be here.' Many words and then while he's on the floor he starts to hit him again, again."

Paciano was able to return to work this week. Meanwhile, Irving is still in jail without a bond. Paciano's wife said she fears Irving will be released and assault or mistreat someone else.

ABC13 obtained surveillance video through a public record's request from a seemingly unprovoked attack involving Irving on a Metro bus in October of 2018.

The 51-year-old can be seen standing at the front of the bus by the driver. A Hispanic man got on the bus at the North Loop and Airline Boulevard and attempted to pay his fare. Irving is then seen punching the man in the head, knocking him to the ground and then stepping on his head.

A passenger on the bus held Irving at gunpoint until police arrived. Irving was not charged for the attack and it's unclear why.

He was charged with a felony for drugs that day and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Belt said the video from 2018 may come into play in the sentencing phase of his current pending aggravated assault case.

"It did open our eyes to who Mr. Irving is," Belt said. "Obviously, going forth in the case that information of that previous incident will play a big role."

Because of prior convictions, the prosecutor said Irving faces 25 years to life in prison.

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