Corning Trial Continues, Resident Speaks Out on Hate Crime Label

December 20, 2006 -- Posted at 5:15 p.m.

Corning, AR - Trial resumed today in Corning in The State Vs. Donald Groning, a case that has been labeled as a hate crime.

Retired State Representative and long-time resident Jim Holland, said it's a disgrace to call this a hate crime.

"I think it's a disgrace to use the word hatecrime, when this does not resemble, does not pertain and does not in no way form or fashion can be classed a hate crime."

Donald Groning a white male is charged with First Degree Battery and Tampering with Evidence in connection to the beating of 19-year old, black male, Craig Mathews of Poplar Bluff, MO. Does this constitute a hatecrime?

"No, had that black male been a white male, and done what he done, he would have gotten the same treatment from that man."

Holland says Corning is not a city that has anomosity towards blacks, nor have they ever used the word hatecrime.

"Corning has always been a good place to live and we've got good people here."

Key witnesses were called to the stand today. Reginald Jones, friend of the victim, the victim himself Craig Mathews, and D.J. and Tiffany Groning, children of the defendant all gave their testimonies before the jury today.

Court will resume tomorrow morning at 9:30.