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April 24, 2014

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Texan pleads not guilty in attack on elderly man

Updated Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 | 8:48 a.m.

HOUSTON (AP) — A white Houston-area man accused of sucker punching an elderly black man has pleaded not guilty to a federal hate crime charge.

Conrad Alvin Barrett entered his plea during a brief arraignment hearing Thursday in Houston federal court.

Investigators say Barrett broke the 79-year-old victim's jaw in two places in a Nov. 24 attack in the Houston suburb of Katy. They say he laughed and shouted "knockout" as the man fell to the ground.

Investigators say Barrett recorded the attack using his cellphone and shared the video.

The 27-year-old was arrested Dec. 26 and indicted last week. He remains in custody.

George Parnham, Barrett's attorney, says his client has a bipolar disorder and was off his medication when the attack happened.

Barrett's trial is scheduled for March 10.