CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Citrus County brothers were sentenced in federal court On Wednesday for a hate crime they committed in 2021, the sheriff’s office said.

On November 17, 2021, Roy Lashley, 56, and Robert Lashley, 52, attacked a Black man with an axe handle.

Deputies said they immediately responded and took the brothers into custody.

While Roy Lashley was detained, he kicked one of the deputies several times and resisted their efforts to place him in a patrol vehicle.

Witnesses who saw the attack told deputies that the brothers were yelling racial slurs at the victim. Then, Robert Lashley began to punch the victim, knocking him to the ground.

Witnesses said Roy Lashley got an axe handle and joined the attack, striking the victim several times with it.

Investigators worked to interview multiple witnesses after the attack. They said it became apparent that the brothers had targeted the victim because of his race and used racial slurs while attacking him.

“No person should ever have to worry about being a target for violence because of their race, religion, or nationality,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “I am extremely pleased with the federal convictions of these two and believe that justice has been served thanks to the aggressive prosecution of this case. Working in cooperation with our federal partners, we ensured that these criminals received the highest possible penalty for their brutal attack on an innocent individual.”

Both brothers were sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by three years of federal probation.