SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A Utah man was sentenced this week to 20 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after a malicious, racially motivated 2018 attack at a local tire business in Salt Lake City, according to the Department of Justice.
As stated in the news release, after a five-day trial regarding the case, a jury in Salt Lake City convicted Alan Covington in February 2020 for assaulting three men with a metal pole because he believed they were of Mexican descent.
Court documents indicate that Covington’s sentencing was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and mental health evaluations.
According to evidence presented at his trial, Covington entered a local family-owned business called Lopez Tires at 1621 S Main Street on November 26, 2018, armed with a metal pole and hatchet.
Upon entering the shop, the trial testimony says he approached the men and demanded to know their ethnicity. In a 2020 interview with ABC4, Luis Lopez, who was brutally attacked in the incident, recalls, “He first asked me if I had killed his daughters, and I was confused, and then he started yelling if I was Mexican.”
Following this, he then began shouting that he wanted to “kill Mexicans” while swinging the metal pole at the business owner, his brother, and his teenage son.
Covington had reportedly hit the teenage son, Luis, with the metal pole, knocking him to the ground and causing serious facial injuries, including broken bones near his eye and a severe concussion.
His attacks were then directed at the other two victims — striking the father, Jose Lopez, multiple times before attacking his brother, who was able to escape without injury and report the incident to the police. Covington was then arrested near the tire shop with a metal pole and a hatchet in his possession.
When asked about the attack, Luis told ABC4, “I am very paranoid. Every time I go out I’m still worried this can happen again.”
During the trial, prosecutors said Covington did the same thing three days prior, confronting others at a nearby business but left. He will now spend the next 20 years in prison for his attack of the Lopez family.
“This was a horrific act of hate-motivated violence and there is no place for it in our state or country,” states U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah in the news release. “These victims are part of our community, and no one should ever have to fear for their safety because of their race or nationality. With Covington now behind bars, we hope the victims and their families can find peace and heal from this unspeakable act of hate.”