Man pleads guilty to hate crime on Route 1

John Michael Ready

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A 26-year-old man was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to a hate crime that took place at a traffic light on Jefferson Davis Highway.

John Michael Ready pulled up next to the victim, an African-American man, at a light on June 14. He admitted to motioning for the victim to roll his window down, then using a racial slur at him.

The victim rolled up his window and pulled into the Potomac Yards shopping center parking lot, where he was headed originally. Ready followed him, parked, and got a black baseball bat out of his trunk, then turned to the victim and ran toward him, trying to strike at his car with the bat.

The victim managed to flee from Ready until police arrived, and he wasn’t injured in the attack. When Alexandria police detained Ready and interviewed him about the incident, he kept making derogatory comments about African-Americans, and later admitted that the incident was racially motivated.

9 months of Ready’s one-year sentence were suspended. He’s been released on time served and is currently out of jail, under the supervision of a probation officer. He will serve one year of supervised probation, and isn’t allowed to make contact with the victim.

“The Code of Virginia punishes assaults motivated by hate more severely, and for good reason. In addition to the obvious risk of physical harm present during an assault, hate-motivated crimes also tend to divide the citizenry by causing segments of society to fear attack simply because of the race or religious group to which they happen to belong,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter. “Proving, in court, that the victim of an assault was selected because of his race or religion can be difficult. Here, the defendant’s own words established the motivation for the assault beyond a reasonable doubt.”