(DCWatchDog.com) – In an outrageous act of deadly arson, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the sentencing of 19-year-old Franklin Sechriest from San Marcos, Texas, to 10 years in prison for committing a hate crime and arson against the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Austin. The DOJ revealed that Sechriest admitted to targeting the synagogue “due to his hatred of” Jewish people.
Court documents indicate that Sechriest meticulously planned his attack, scouting the synagogue’s parking lot three days before the arson. On the night of the incident, surveillance videos captured Sechriest approaching the sanctuary with a five-gallon container and toilet paper. Subsequently, the glow of fire emerged from the sanctuary, and Sechriest was seen jogging away from the scene toward a waiting car.
Authorities discovered journals in which Sechriest expressed his antisemitic views and found decals and stickers with similar messages in his possession. The Austin Fire Department managed to extinguish the fire after a concerned bystander reported it. The DOJ highlighted the severity of the crime, emphasizing how hate crimes can destroy communities and inflict fear in society.
Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Olson of the FBI San Antonio Field Office stated, “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,” Olson reaffirmed the FBI’s commitment to investigating hate crimes and holding those responsible accountable.
Sechriest, who pleaded guilty to hate crime and arson charges, faces significant consequences. In addition to his 10-year prison sentence, he has been ordered to pay restitution of up to $470,000 and will be on supervised release for three years.