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Charles Oliver

Brickbat: Sympathy for the Devil

The Mississippi man who destroyed a statue erected by the Satanic Temple of Iowa in the state Capitol last year faces years in prison after being charged with a hate crime. Navy veteran Michael Cassidy has been charged with felony third-degree criminal mischief. He was originally charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief, but in a statement, prosecutors said, "the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim's religion." As a result, prosecutors tacked on a hate crime enhancement, increasing the charge from a misdemeanor to a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $10,245 in fines. The prosecutors' statement said that based on information provided by the Satanists, it would cost between $750 and $1,500 to repair or replace the statue.

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