An Iowa man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for tearing down and burning an LGBTQ Pride flag from Ames United Church of Christ.
The BBC reports: “The incident occurred around midnight on 11 June in downtown Ames, Iowa. Police say the crime spree began at Dangerous Curves, a strip club, when police were called because a man was making threats. By the time they arrived, he had already been kicked out by bar staff. After leaving the club, Martinez then travelled to the church and ripped down its flag. He then returned to the strip club where he used lighter fluid to burn the flag in the street. He also threatened to burn down the bar.”
Martinez told local news station KCCI after being arrested that he was “guilty as charged,”did it because he “opposed homosexuality,” and added: “It was an honour to do that. It’s a blessing from the Lord. I burned down their pride, plain and simple.”
The Ames Tribune reports: “Adolfo Martinez, 30, was convicted by a jury in November of a hate crime, third-degree harassment and being a habitual offender, which is associated with previous reckless use of fire crimes. He was sentenced Wednesday in Story County District Court, in Nevada. All three crimes were to be served concurrent as the habitual offender charge carries a 15 year sentence and hate crime two years. Martinez is not eligible for parole until the mandatory minimum of three years is met. He is the first person to be convicted of a hate crime in Story County, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said.”