A 25-year-old Irvine man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from a racially charged attack on a black teen and his older brother.
Why did Christopher Qu accept a plea deal that had him copping to assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, and a misdemeanor hate crime count? Probably because, if convicted without admitting guilt, he was looking at up to 19 years in state prison.
As part of the deal with the court, a count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with sentencing enhancements for a hate crime were dismissed.
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Then there's the sentence: three years probation and 180 days in jail that are waived because Qu had been in custody since his March 2016 arrest. But he won't be out on the streets just yet: Under the deal with the court, he will be placed in the custody of the Public Guardian’s Office to receive mental health treatment.
A teen who has just finished practice for an Irvine High School sports team was waiting for his older brother to pick him up around 12:50 p.m. on March 30, 2016, when Qu approached holding a pipe.
Qu yelled racial slurs at the boy, who is black, and headed toward him while banging the pipe on railings just as the teen's 24-year-old brother rolled up. The brother got out of the car and intervened, which earned him a head butt from Qu, who also slammed the pipe against the man's arm several times.
He saved his little brother, who was not injured, but the man suffered a broken nose and bruises on his arms.