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A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime in connection to a fire set in a Loveland, Colorado church in January.
22-year-old Darion Ray Sexton admitted to intentionally setting fire to the church on January 19, the Justice Department said in a press release. According to Fox 31, the arson occurred at Abiding Love Lutheran Church.
Sexton admitted that he set fire to the church by throwing two Molotov cocktails inside, one through the front door and another into he basement. He further admitted that “he was motivated to set this fire due to the religious character of the church and that he intended to destroy the church,” the press release stated.
Sexton faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the arson. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 21.
A previous press release from the Justice Department stated that firefighters extinguished the fire at the front door, and found evidence of another fire in the basement, which appeared to have been extinguished by the emergency sprinkler system.
Authorities recovered a broken glass bottle from the front door near the fire, with the area smelling like gasoline. Another broken bottle, as well as a partially melted plastic bottle, were found in the basement.
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