Man admits attack was racially motivated

By Janice Gregorson

One of two brothers accused of using a knife in a racially motivated attack admitted Friday he did it because the other man was black.

Brent Douglas Espenson, 23, of West Concord, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault with a knife and one count of fourth-degree assault motivated by bias. Both charges stem from the assault of a 31-year-old Rochester man in January.

Espenson also pleaded guilty to domestic assault by strangulation, a felony. He was accused of assaulting his former girlfriend the same day as the assault on the man.


Under a plea agreement, three other felony charges in connection with the domestic assault were dismissed. There was no agreement as to sentence.

Prosecutor Eric Woodford said Espenson faces four to five years in prison under state sentencing guidelines. Sentencing is set for June 2.

Under questioning by his attorney and the judge, Espenson admitted he went after the other man just because he was black. The victim was chased and cut with a knife. Espenson also admitted yelling racial slurs at the man. Judge Joseph Wieners asked Espenson if he had ever met the victim before. Espenson said no.

Espenson and his brother, Nathan, 21, were charged in connection with both assaults. Nathan Espenson’s next court date is a pretrial hearing in July.

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