A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child’s birthday party have been sentenced to prison.
Jose Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats.
Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating the Street Gang Act.
Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said:
“Many people tried to make the case about simply flying the Confederate Battle Flag. This case was about a group of people riding around our community, drinking alcohol, harassing and intimidating our citizens because of the color of their skin.”
On July 25, 2015, Torres and Norton, joined about a dozen other people in a convoy of pickup trucks waving large Confederate flags as they drove around Douglas County, a suburban Atlanta community. Most of them belonged to a group called “Respect the Flag.”
“The convoy of trucks passed by the victim’s residence where the victims were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while hosting a child’s birthday party featuring a bouncy castle, snow-cone machines, and a DJ.”
The party-goers said the people in the trucks yelled racial slurs as they passed, the statement said.
The drivers parked the trucks near the house, prosecutors said. Torres was part of a smaller group that “threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them,” said the statement.
“Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that ‘the little ones can get one too,’ referring to the young children at the party.”
Norton was accused of making similar threats. The victims said a member of Torres’ group was armed with a knife and a tire tool.
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