An Iowa judge sentenced a man to 16 years in prison for burning an LGBTQ flag Wednesday, sending shock waves across the country. Typically, flag burners see little to no jail time. But because it was a hate crime committed by a repeated offender, the book was thrown at him.
In June, 30-year-old Adolfo Martinez was arrested after he stole a gay pride banner hanging at Ames United Church of Christ. Then he burned it outside the “Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club.”
He was found guilty last month of “third-degree arson in violation of individual rights — hate crime, third-degree harassment, and reckless use of fire as a habitual offender.”
Martinez had shown no remorse after he was arrested in June.
“It was an honor to (burn the flag),” Martinez told KCCI. “It’s a blessing from the Lord.” When asked if he would fight the charges, he answered, “No! I’m guilty as charged.