SAN ANGELO, TX — Newly sworn-in County Court at Law #2 Judge Andrew Graves has stepped away from the pending trial of Evan Berry Berryhill who was charged with a hate crime by County prosecutor Leland Lacy. The trial was supposed to begin November 14.
The charges come after a grueling four-month county attorney’s office investigation of Berryhill who was confronted in a dark parking lot in front of her own apartment by two men. One of the men identified himself as a “dispatcher” with the San Angelo Police Department and claimed the encounter “will not end well” for her.
Using video recordings taken during the series of back-and-forth insults between Berryhill and the two men as evidence, Lacy said in his charging document that Berryhill touched one of the men, Charles Hardy, while calling both men “f-in f-ggots.” The utterance of the insult led Lacy and his criminal investigator to charge Berryhill with “assault” via unwanted touching and elevated the charge from a Class C Misdemeanor to a Class B because Lacy wrote that Berryhill did so due to her animus towards homosexuals.
Berryhill was arrested and her mugshot was published.
The incident gained nationwide attention when Danesh Noshirvan aka “ThatDaneshGuy” on TikTok created a series of viral videos that led to a continuous online harassment campaign against Berryhill, the San Angelo Police Department, and local media. The online mob demanded police arrest Berryhill. Berryhill received multiple voice messages on her cell phone made by anonymous men threatening to rape her after Noshirvan’s videos were published where he doxed her.
On the night of the confrontation, police responded to the incident but did not arrest Berryhill. She was arrested four months on the county attorney’s office charges.
Graves ran against Lacy for the County Court at Law #2 position in the March 1 Republican primary and won. Graves told us that he had to step aside from the trial because he had discussed the case with Joe Hyde at San Angelo LIVE! long before he was sworn in as judge on November 1. Outgoing and retiring Judge Penny Roberts stepped down early and Graves was sworn in to replace her before the November 8 election. Graves would have won anyway because he had no opponent.
After Graves stepped aside, the trial date for Evan Berryhill was reset to January 9, 2023. County Court at Law #1 Judge Ben Nolan will preside.
For more on the first hate crime trial in county history, see: