Man Says Fire at Somali Cafe Had Nothing to do With Race
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A man who pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for firebombing a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks says the incident had nothing to do with race.
Matthew Gust made the comment to a federal judge Thursday before pleading guilty to two counts for the December fire at the Juba Coffee House.
The fire came three days after vandals spray-painted what some have described as a Nazi-like symbol on the business.
The 25-year-old Gust told the judge he doesn't like the wording of one charge accusing him of attempting to intimidate employees and customers of the restaurant because of their national origin.
Prosecutor Megan Healy replied that at least two witnesses testified that Gust has show animosity toward the Somali community.
The plea agreement calls for a 15-year prison sentence.