VICTORIA, Texas (AP) — A man accused of torching a South Texas mosque last year has been convicted of federal arson and explosives charges and of a hate crime charge.
A jury in Victoria, Texas, deliberated about three hours before convicting 26-year-old Marq Vincent Perez.
Prosecutor Sharad Khandelwal said during the trial that a "rabid hatred" of Muslims led Perez to set fire last year to an Islamic center in Victoria, destroying the building. Another prosecutor asserted that Perez aimed to terrorize Muslims along the middle Texas Gulf Coast and to cause damage and destruction.
Perez, who denied involvement in the blaze, could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.
Defense attorney Mark Di Carlo said he and his client were "very disappointed" but no decision has been made to appeal.