"Knockout" game suspect appears in federal court

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A federal judge denied bond to the man accused of punching an elderly Katy man in the face as part of the "knockout game."

Prosecutors have charged 27-year-old Conrad Barrett with a hate crime because they say he intentionally looked for an African American victim.

A federal judge ruled Barrett could be a danger to the public if he was released on bond. Prosecutors argued for that decision.

"I got very passionate and argued very strenuously for him to be incarcerated pending trial because I think we need to protect the public from people like him," federal prosecutor Ruben Perez said after the hearing. "The video showed, for about a week, he was hunting African Americans."

Investigators say Barrett video taped himself attacking the 79-year-old man on Nov. 24. The victim was hurt so badly he had to have surgery to insert two metal plates into his fractured jaw.

The man also had to have teeth removed.

Barrett's attorney says his client has a mental disease and suffers from bipolar disorder. Attorney George Parnham said his client was not taking his prescribed medication at the time of the attack.

"It is certainly not an excuse and we make no excuses for what occurred," said Parnham said.

In the neighborhood where the victim lives, his friends shared stories of a man who helped raise them.

"He's like the type of person that would shake your hand. He wants to get to know you," Dalwin Haynes said.

"He's a good man, a very good man, a hard working man," Pearlie Mae Haynes said.

Local 2's Legal analyst Brian Wice says defending Barrett will be an uphill battle.

"His own words and actions will serve as the centerpiece of the prosecution's case against him," Wice said. "Federal hate crimes are designed to isolate those offenders, who by their words or deeds and conduct, have made it clear they have targeted a particular victim solely because of their race, creed or ethnic background."

If you have information about this case or a tip, email investigative reporter Jace Larson at jlarson@kprc.com.

You can following him on Twitter.

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