WOODSTOCK – A 26-year-old Fox River Grove man pleaded not guilty Friday to hate crime charges, while officials determine whether his case should be sent to mental health court.
Jason P. Bachler, of the 100 block of Beachway Drive, was arrested Oct. 30 after throwing a beer at a gas station clerk’s chest and telling him to leave the country when the employee asked him to pay for the drink, police said.
Bachler appeared in court Friday morning beside McHenry County Assistant Public Defender Kim Messer, who told the judge that Bachler is undergoing a series of assessments to determine whether his case might better be resolved in a specialty court.
If Bachler's case were transferred to mental health court, he would be ordered to participate in activities such as counseling and public service, among other requirements, Messer said.
Upon successful completion of the program, Bachler's charges could be reduced or dismissed, Messer said.
It is unclear what condition, if any, would make Bachler eligible for mental health court.
On Oct. 30, Bachler asked a gas station clerk, “Are you an American or something?” according to a complaint filed in McHenry County court.
When the clerk replied “no,” Bachler threw a beer and told the employee to “get out of my [profanity] country,” the complaint states.
Bachler is charged with battery and committing a hate crime. If convicted of a hate crime, he could be sentenced from one to three years in prison.
Bachler posted $1,000 bond Nov. 1 and was released from the McHenry County jail.
His next court date is set for Feb. 16.