Man sentenced to more than 24 years for Texas mosque fire

VICTORIA, Texas (AP) — A man convicted of torching a South Texas mosque last year has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

Marq Vincent Perez was sentenced Wednesday during a court hearing in Victoria, Texas.

In July, a jury convicted the 26-year-old Perez of federal arson, explosives and hate crime charges.

Mark Di Carlo, Perez’s defense attorney, says his client is “disappointed in his lengthy sentence” and will appeal his conviction.

At his trial, prosecutors said that a “rabid hatred” of Muslims led Perez to set fire to an Islamic center in Victoria, destroying the building.

Di Carlo disputed prosecutors’ claims, saying that “allegations of (Perez’s) religious bias was not established beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Perez, who denied involvement in the blaze, could have been sentenced to up to 40 years.

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