Franklin Sechriest, 19, of San Marcos, Texas, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for perpetuating a hate crime and setting fire to a Jewish synagogue, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
According to the DOJ, Sechriest admitted targeting the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Austin, Texas, due to his "hatred of Jewish people. The DOJ report further adds that journals were "recovered from the defendant ... replete with virulent antisemitic statements and views."
According to The Hill, court documents detailed that on Oct. 28, 2021, Sechriest scouted the synagogue's location. On the night of Oct. 31, 2021, surveillance footage captured him carrying a five-gallon container and toilet paper toward the synagogue. The footage subsequently showed a fire breaking out, with Sechriest seen fleeing.
The Austin Fire Department extinguished the fire, which was reported by a bystander. Sechriest's journal entries, which included an admission to setting the fire, indicated he closely monitored the investigation's media coverage. A journal entry from Oct. 31, 2021, stated, "I set a synagogue on fire."
Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Olson of the FBI's San Antonio Field Office said: "Hate crimes have the power to devastate and terrorize entire communities. To target a place of worship, a space meant to be a sanctuary in every sense of the word, is one of the most heinous acts that can be committed.
"We remain dedicated to investigating hate crimes and will continue to work relentlessly to hold responsible those who would commit violent acts based on hate."
Sechriest, who earlier pleaded guilty to hate crime and arson charges, was ordered to pay restitution of up to $470,000. He will also be placed on supervised release for three years after his time in jail.
Nick Koutsobinas ✉
Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.