Crime

‘He’s not a racist.’ SLO man who allegedly threatened to shoot minorities enters plea

Hate crimes carry ‘different harm’ than other crimes

Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, talks generally about hate crime laws. What makes these crimes unique is that they are directed at whole groups of people, she said.
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Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho, talks generally about hate crime laws. What makes these crimes unique is that they are directed at whole groups of people, she said.

A San Luis Obispo man pleaded not guilty to hate crime allegations after allegedly sending Hallmark cards threatening to shoot ethnic minorities in his neighborhood — and his attorney told The Tribune that there’s “no evidence of his guilt.”

Richard Vincent Orcutt, 62, entered his plea Monday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

“This is a circumstantial evidence case; there is no direct evidence of Mr. Orcutt’s guilt,” Orcutt’s attorney, Guy Galambos, said in a statement. “Despite serving three search warrants on him and his property, despite having the FBI and (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) assist the investigation and despite setting bail at $500,000, there is no proof of his guilt.”

Police carried out a search warrant at Orcutt’s home on June 30, allegedly finding a large cache of weapons — including tactical assault rifles — and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Earlier in July, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Orcutt alleging 10 felonies, including seven charges of making criminal threats, one charge of attempting to make a criminal threat, and two counts of possessing an “assault weapon,” namely a SGM Stag Arms Stag 15 rifle.

Four of the criminal threats charges carry sentencing enhancements alleging the offenses are hate crimes.

A District Attorney’s Office news release stated that Orcutt faces nearly 15 years in state prison if convicted of all charges.

But Galambos countered by saying there are “no eyewitnesses, no surveillance videos, no scientific evidence showing he wrote or sent these threatening, racist cards.”

“Richard Orcutt is a 31-year veteran of the San Luis Obispo Fire Department,” Galambos said in the statement. “He spent his career saving people’s lives and property. Richard’s close friends and family know that he is not a racist and not dangerous.”

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.
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