Jose Ismael Torres and Kayla Rae Norton a Douglas County, Georgia couple who terrorized black locals were handed out lengthy prison sentences in hate crime.
Georgia couple, Jose Ismael Torres, 26 and Kayla Rae Norton, 25 have been sentenced to a combined 35 years jail after terrorizing a black child’s birthday party with Confederate flags, racial slurs and threats.
Monday’s sentencing comes after the pair were earlier this month convicted under a street gang terrorism law for the 2015 harassment in Douglassville, outside Atlanta.
Video footage (see below) from the Douglas County Confederate flag case saw a band of white revelers driving by a boy’s 8th birthday party with Confederate battle flags as they antagonized black patrons.
One person is heard shouting the n-word, while witnesses said Torres pointed a gun and said ‘he was gonna kill the n—–s.’
Told the judge, ‘Their actions were motivated by racial hatred’.
Adding: ‘If you drive around town with a Confederate flag, yelling the ‘N’ word, you know how it’s going to be interpreted,’
‘It’s inexplicable to me that you weren’t arrested by the police that day.’
Of note, Georgia does not have a hate crime statute.
Torres was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 of them in prison, for aggravated assault, terroristic threats and street gang terrorism.
Norton, who is the mother of Torres’s children, was sentenced to 15, serving six, for terroristic threats and street gang terrorism.
Assistant District Attorney David Emadi detailed how the group had gone on a drunken, two-county rampage in pick-up trucked laden with Confederate battle flags through Paulding and Douglas counties over July 24 and July 25.
Emadi said the group threatened African-American motorists, yelled at them and walked up to one of their cars with a gun. They also threatened African American shoppers at a Paulding County Walmart and at a convenience store.
The sentencing comes in the aftermath of the recent sentencing of white supremacist, Dylan Roof who had massacred nine African-Americans at a Charleston church, with the youth using the Confederate flag as a symbol on his supremacist website.
Torres and Norton’s antagonizing of black locals would take place not less than month after Dylan had targeted African Americans.
Prosecutors said that the cases against Torres, Norton and other defendants are not based on their right to fly a Confederate flag, but on threats against the victims.
‘This is behavior that even supporters of the Confederate battle flag can agree is criminal and shouldn’t be allowed,’ Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement.
A grand jury indicted 15 people in the ‘Respect the Flag‘ group, which said that victims had thrown objects at them, on street gang terrorism charges for the birthday party disruption.
Georgia Department of Corrections efforts show that Thomas Charles Summers was convicted of terrorist threats and battery, and sentenced to six years in prison last year.
Others who were less involved pleaded guilty and were put into diversion program.
During sentencing, the couple weeped, with Torres offering her apologies, with the parents of the targeted birthday boy responding that ‘life is too short for hate’.