Would you ever have imagined spending 17 years in prison for burning a piece of cloth? This is the situation of Adolfo Martinez, an Iowa man who reportedly burned a flag belonging to the LGBT community. He stole it from the United Church of Christ in Ames before putting it up in flames in front of a men’s strip club.
The 30-year-old, is a habitual offender, according to an Iowa court, which confirmed other convictions on him. Court reports indicate that he has a charge of driving without a license, and despite its dismissal, he pleaded guilty. He has also been accused of possessing marijuana, which is illegal in the United States.
In his admission of having burned the LGBT pride flag, Martinez did not express any remorse. He further added that his actions were motivated by his hate for homosexuality.
“It was an honor to do that. It was a blessing from the Lord… I burned down their pride. Plain and simple… I’m guilty. Guilty as charged.” Martinez told KCCI.
The United Church of Christ has expressed its fury over the behavior of Martinez. Even though there were no incidences of sexual assault, Rev. Eileen Gebbie says they feel disrespected. The senior minister, who is also gay, adds that the action triggered a lot of fear for the people who frequent the church.
“We had to continue to talk about how to prepare for an active shooter and we learned from the trial Mr. Martinez had been watching our church for some time,” Gebbie noted.
According to Jessica Reynolds, the Story County Attorney, the offender may continue with his behavior despite being handed a maximum sentence. The sentence was not only about arson and harassment but also about hate crime enhancement.
Nonetheless, Gebbie says that the sentencing will act as a warning to the many likes of Martinez. The minister did say that his actions were clear indicators of biological hatred. Nonetheless, she is ready to forgive the offender for his actions citing that the neighborhood demands forgiveness from every quarter no matter what a person has done. Is it likely that Martinez has a mental problem? Well, it is just a matter of time before this can be affirmed.