Jury convicts landlord in hate crime against tenant

From the Associated Press

A 66-year-old Long Beach landlord was convicted this week of assault and battery of a tenant in a hate crime.

Mary Zulfacar, a native of Afghanistan, could face 2 1/2 years in jail after Thursday’s verdict, prosecutors said.

Zulfacar was convicted of harassing, threatening and assaulting Kenneth Jackson, who is black, and his 17-year-old daughter, Jerlean, over a rent dispute in May.


Zulfacar was convicted of simple battery and assault with a deadly weapon in the beating of Jerlean, who was five months pregnant.

The jury also upheld one of two hate-crime charges against Zulfacar connected to the use of racial slurs.

Zulfacar was also charged with vandalism, brandishing a weapon and violating a court order, but jurors found her not guilty on those counts.

“We think that justice was done for the victims in this case,” Deputy City Prosecutor Sayge Castillo said.

“They really suffered a pretty traumatic thing.”

Zulfacar’s attorney, Jerry Kaplan, described the case as an overblown landlord-tenant dispute.

He said his client may be “eccentric, a bit crusty and probably didn’t come across that well on the witness stand,” but isn’t a racist.