Several Asian American activist groups announced Wednesday that federal officials will consider their request to investigate the stabbing death of a former UCLA student as a potential civil rights case.
The activist groups, concerned that local authorities initially said the stabbing might not be prosecuted as a hate crime, turned to the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the Jan. 29 slaying of 24-year-old Thien Minh Ly at a local tennis court.
The Civil Rights Department of the agency has asked the FBI to investigate, the groups said Wednesday.
At Monday’s arraignment of the suspects, however, prosecutors said they will file the case as a murder with hate crime special circumstances and seek the death penalty.
Gunner J. Lindberg, 21, and Domenic M. Christopher, 17, await trial on charges that they ambushed Ly as he skated on a tennis court at Tustin High School, tried to rob him and stabbed him a dozen times.
Lindberg, identified by police as a white supremacist, confessed to the crime in a letter he wrote to a friend that included racial epitaphs, according to search warrant affidavits.
The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium and the Thien Minh Ly Ad Hoc Committee requested the federal investigation several weeks ago.