Ted Hakey Jr., a 48-year-old U.S. Marine, has been sentenced to six months in prison for firing gunshots into an empty Meriden mosque in the early morning hours of Nov. 14, 2015, the day after the Paris terror attacks.
The Baitul Aman Mosque was empty when Hakey fired four shots into it with a high-powered rifle, according to authorities. Hakey later said he had been drinking alcohol on that November evening and was frightened of a religion that he knew nothing about.
"Your conduct strikes at values we Americans have held dear for centuries," Judge Michael Shae said during sentencing on Friday.
Following the incident, Hakey apologized to members of the mosque.
On Friday, he told the judge he went into "Marine Corps protection mode" after drinking and remembers deciding, ""If I fire some shots it'll scare any terrorists," he said.
He added that he genuinely admires the Ahmadiyya community and will continue to work against anti-Muslim rhetoric.
The case against Hakey was based on ballistic evidence, as well as Hakey’s social media posts showing anti-Muslim sentiment, prosecutors said.
Court documents show that after learning about the Paris attacks, Hakey posted on Facebook, “What is gonna be the breaking point to go “weapons free” against Islam?”
Hakey pleaded guilty to intentional destruction of religious property with a dangerous weapon. As part of a plea deal, he forfeits the rifle, which was already confiscated, and he must pay $5,130 in damages to the mosque.
Hakey was sentenced on Friday to six months in prison, minus the three weeks of time he has served. Once he is released from prison, he will be on supervised release for three years.
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