American man sentenced to 15 years in prison for burning LGBTQ flag

An Iowa man has been sentenced to 15 years for setting an LGBTQ flag on fire.

An Iowa man has been sentenced to 15 years for setting an LGBTQ flag on fire according to USA Today. Adolfo Martinez, 30, stole a pride banner that was hanging at Ames United Church of Christ and burning it on June 11 outside Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club.

Martinez was found guilty of third-degree arson in violation of individual rights—hate crime, reckless use of fire as a habitual offender and third-degree harassment.

Police say Martinez admitted that he lit the banner on fire as well as telling local press that he was, “guilty as charged.” Admitting that his actions were a direct consequence of his animosity for homosexuals.

Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said that hate crime charges were added for Martinez because his actions were motivated by his hatred of “what it represents as far as sexual orientation.”

Martinez initially faced a maximum of five years in prison for the hate crime and arson charge. He also received a maximum of a year and a month for the other two charges according to Iowa state law. However, court records listed him as a habitual offender which allowed him to be sentenced to a longer prison sentence.