Man who tore down and burned an LGBT Pride flag jailed for 15 years
Stealing a Pride flag from a church and setting it alight outside a strip club has landed an Iowa man at least 15 years in prison.
The sentencing was the result of a string of offences, including threatening to burn a strip club down and a months-long sentence tacked on for hate crime.
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was sentenced on Wednesday by judges for the hate crime of arson.
Moreover, justices handed down a year for reckless use of explosives or fire and 30 days for harassment. Sentences will be served consecutively, Story County court records specified, Des Moines Register reported.
‘I burned down their Pride, plain and simple’, says man set to serve 15 years for burning Pride flag.
On June 11, Martinez became involved in a series of crimes that came to form his rap sheet. Police arrived at Dangerous Curves, a downtown strip club, responding to calls of a man making threats.
But by the time officers arrived, the man had already been kicked out.
Leaving the club, Martinez travelled to the Ames United church of Christ and ripped down the flag.
He then curved back to the club and used lighter fluid to burn the flag in the street and later said he did this because he opposes being gay.
In a spluttering interview given in November, Martinez gave his account of the incident to KCCI Des Moines, where he openly claimed to be guilty of the charges,
“It is my honour, it is written, it is a judgement and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments upon the people,” he said.
“It is my honour to do so, and it is an honour to that. It is a blessing from the Lord, plain and simple.
“It was an honour to do that, it’s a blessing from the Lord to be able to stand for his word firmly against all odds plain and simple.
‘I wish no harm upon any individual, however, if you guys are going to bring and forth and address it in such a manner than by all means necessary bring it forth bro, I have God on my side.”
“No, I’m guilty, I’m guilty as charged, I say it live.
“Knowingly, willingly and intentionally did I do that.”
He added: “I burned down their pride, plain and simple.”
Martinez then claimed that “even non-believers” would agree with his views and actions.
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“I don’t need weapons, I have the spirit of God on my side, bro.”
‘It’s so important that as a society we stand up [to homophobia].’
Jurors convicted Martinez in November while his sentence was slapped on Thursday.
Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said Martinez was the first person in the county’s history to be convicted of a hate crime, the Ames Tribune reported.
“The hard reality is there are people who target individuals and commit crimes against individuals because of their race, gender, sexual orientation,” she said.
“And when that happens it’s so important that as a society we stand up and people have severe consequences for those actions.”