Source: PR Newswire
Senior Judge Robert L. Echols of the Middle District of Tennessee today sentenced Michael Corey Golden to 14 years and three months in prison and three years of supervised released for vandalizing and burning down the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn., the Justice Department announced. Golden pleaded guilty on Nov. 3, 2008, to destruction of religious property and to using fire to commit a felony.
Golden, 24, previously admitted to the court that he constructed Molotov cocktail explosive devices, ignited them and used them to destroy the mosque on Feb. 9, 2008. He further admitted that while he burned down the mosque, a co-defendant painted swastikas and the phrase "White Power" on the building's walls. The other two defendants, Jonathan Edward Stone and Eric Ian Baker, previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in December.
"The right to worship without fear of this kind of violent interference is among our most fundamental civil rights," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will aggressively prosecute anyone who seeks to intimidate or injure any congregation because of what they believe, how they worship or who they are."