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Trayvon Martin case looms over beating of 78-year-old Ohio man

A 78-year-old Ohio man says he was a victim of a hate crime when he was severely beaten by group of youths -- who allegedly said "this is for Trayvon," referring to the unarmed black Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

The man, Dallas Watts of East Toledo, told police he was walking home Saturday afternoon when he was confronted by six youths, both white and black, ages 11 to 17, FoxToledo.com reports. One of the youths allegedly said "take him down."

Watts said he told the youths, "Why me? Remember Trayvon." He told FoxToledo.com that he meant it in a "peaceful way," since he had nothing to do with the Florida killing. But police suggest the youths may have misinterpreted Watts' words as threatening.

"[Get] that white [man]. This is for Trayvon ... Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man]," the boys are quoted as saying in a police report cited by the Toledo Blade.

Three of the six youths have been charged in the case, but police interviews didn't yield enough evidence to support hate crime charges, FoxToledo.com reported.