PBS reports that Jose “Joe” Torres was sentenced to 20 years. The jury in the case convicted the man of three counts of aggravated assault, on count of terroristic threats and another count of violating Georgia’s terrorism prevention act. Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years on similar charges. Torres is expected to serve 13 years in prison. Norton is expected to serve 6 years.
Analysts point out that the case was not about the display of a Confederate flag. Instead, the issue is that the passengers in the convoy allegedly drove through town, verbally assailing African-Americans and then upping their acts of aggression into those of terror by drawing weapons on American children who were enjoying a birthday party on their own property.
As reported by CNN:
“The convoy of trucks passed by the victim’s residence where the victims were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while hosting a child’s birthday party featuring a bouncy castle, snow-cone machines, and a DJ,” the district attorney’s office posted on its official Facebook page.The party-goers said the people in the trucks yelled racial slurs as they passed, the statement said.The drivers parked the trucks near the house, prosecutors said. Torres was part of a smaller group that “threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them,” said the statement.“Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that ‘the little ones can get one too,’ referring to the young children at the party,” the statement said.Norton was accused of making similar threats. The victims said some member of Torres’ group was armed with a knife and a tire tool.