A Georgia man and woman were each sentenced to nearly two decades in prison, collectively, after being found guilty of yelling racial slurs and threatening to kill attendants at a black child’s birthday.
According to the Associated Press, 26-year-old Jose Ismael Torres and 24-year-old Kayla Rae Norton took part in a group disruption of a black 8-year-old’s birthday party in Douglasville, Georgia, in 2015. The group of 15 waved Confederate flags and threatened violence against the partygoers, with shouts of “kill y’all n******.” Prosecutors said at one point Torres aimed a shotgun at the party.
Their disruption crashing took place less than a month after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. A website showed photos of Roof with the Confederate flag and a racist manifesto of his mass murder.
Torres was sentenced to 13 years on one count of terroristic threats, one count of violating Georgia’s street gang act, and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Norton was sentenced to six years on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating the street gang act.
The couple, who have three children together, were among four people in the group charged with felonies. The other two, Thomas Charles Summers and Lacey Paul Henderson II, pled guilty and received lighter sentences.
However, when the couple’s attorneys pled for lighter sentences, Superior Court Judge William McClain said they had to “answer for their behavior,” according to Atlanta news station WSBTV. McClain also ordered that they be permanently banished from Douglas County once they’re released.
“Their actions were motivated by racial hatred,” McClain said.