Arkansas — Sean Popejoy
The first person convicted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was 19-year-old Sean Popejoy of Green Forest, Arkansas. Popejoy was convicted of instigating a high-speed pursuit of a car containing five Hispanic males in June 2010. After chasing the men at high speeds for quite some distance, Popejoy pulled even with the victims' car, brandished a tire iron, and yelling racial epitaphs. His truck then rammed the the car, which slid off the road, hit a tree and was engulfed in flames. Each of the passengers sustained critical injuries in the crash and explosion.
Popejoy pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.