Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

‘White Lives Matter’ member gets 18 years for firebombing church that planned drag events

By 37ci3 Jan30,2024

WASHINGTON — A member of the pro-Nazi group White Lives Matter has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for opening fire on an Ohio church that planned to host two drag events.

Aimeen PennyHe was a 20-year-old far-right extremist from Ohio was arrested after making a Molotov cocktail last year and throwing it at Chesterland Community Church in Chesterland, Ohio on March 25, 2023.

Penny admitted his guilt The burning of the church in October is a hate crime, as well as the use of fire and explosives to commit a crime. Judge Bridget Meehan Brennan sentenced Penny to a total of 216 months in prison on Monday.

In a sentence memo, federal prosecutors said church arson “has a long and tragic history in the United States” and that church arson is “as powerful a symbol of hate as burning a cross on a lawn or leaving a noose hanging.” According to prosecutors, Penny had previously traveled to Wadsworth, Ohio before a drag queen story hour to distribute promotional flyers for the group. During an interview with the FBI, prosecutors stated that “he would have felt better if the Molotov cocktails had been more effective and set the whole church on fire.”

Appearing in court for sentencing, Penny was unapologetic and justified her actions as protecting the children. According to the Columbus Dispatch.

Prosecutors said Penny was a member of White Lives Matter, a group they described as “racist, pro-Nazi and homophobic.”

Inside Penny’s car, prosecutors said, “an M4 A1 Carbine 5.56mm assault rifle, 7 rifle magazines of 5.56mm ammunition, a Ruger pistol, 3 magazines of 9mm ammunition, a tactical vest, 3 shields and found a knife inside. A search of his home revealed “one Glock 9mm pistol, 4 magazines of 9mm ammunition, one Smith and Wesson MP-15 rifle, 1 Walther Pistol Model P22, Iver Johnson Arms & A Cycle Works 12-gauge shotgun, 15 magazines were found, filled with ammunition, various boxes and Nazi memorabilia.”

Penny wrote a “manifesto” bragging about the attack, claiming he was “respected for it” in prison, according to the FBI. Prosecutors said the manifesto was “filled with distorted and false historical narratives, calls for war and violence, and transphobic and anti-Semitic hatred that justified his actions.”

According to prosecutors, Penny believed she was doing “God’s work” and “ruling history” by attacking the church. Penny, authorities said, had “become increasingly radicalized through online interactions since at least 2017” and “leaned toward Nazi ideology and white supremacist groups.”

Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Department of Homeland Security, said the ruling “holds Mr. Penny accountable for violence against an Ohio church because he disagreed with the way congregations chose to express their faith” and “extremist acts of violence in our communities.” there is no place.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said officials hope the “significant sentence sends a clear and bright message that this kind of hate-filled attack on the church will not be tolerated in America.”

“This defendant attempted to burn down a church because its members created a space for and supported the LGBTQ+ community,” Clarke said. “The Department of Justice will vigorously investigate and prosecute such senseless, biased violence against people exercising their constitutionally protected right to express their religious beliefs and practices.”

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By 37ci3

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