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Who is Nicholas John Proffitt? Man pleads guilty to hate crime, arson charges for setting fire that destroyed Missouri Islamic center

Who is Nicholas John Proffitt? Man pleads guilty to hate crime, arson charges for setting fire that destroyed Missouri Islamic center

The US Justice Department announced Tuesday that a man has pleaded guilty to hate crime and arson charges in connection with the fire that destroyed an Islamic center in southeast Missouri two years ago.

Nicholas John Proffitt, 44, entered the plea in the case of the torching of the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center on April 24, 2020, which was the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the department said. It was the second time he had attacked the building.

Who is Nicholas John Proffitt? Man pleads guilty to hate crime, arson charges for setting fire that destroyed Missouri Islamic center

Proffitt was captured on security video smashing the glass window of the building and throwing two containers inside. According to court records, he then entered, poured the contents of two gallon-size containers throughout the foyer and hallway, and set fire to them.

About a dozen people were inside at the time but escaped unharmed. The fire made the building unsuitable for use as a center.

Prosecutors said Proffitt admitted to starting the fire because of the religious nature of the building.

His public defender did not immediately return a phone call after hours seeking comment.

The sentencing date has been set for May 22. Proffitt faces up to 20 years in prison for causing damage to religious property and a mandatory minimum of 10 years for using fire to commit a federal felony, which must run concurrently with any other sentence. He could also face fines of up to $250,000 for each charge.

source:summarybio.com