A Georgia couple has been sentenced to prison after making racist threats against a group of black partygoers celebrating a child’s birthday.
Jose “Joe” Torres and Kayla Norton each received a prison sentence this past Monday. According to a report from CNN, Torres was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault; one count of making terroristic threats; and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.
The sentencing stems from an incident that occurred back in July 2015, when Torres and Norton joined about a dozen other people joined a group of Confederate Flag wavers that were driving around Douglas County, a suburb in Atlanta. Most of the flag wavers were a part of a group called “Respect the Flag.”
According to a statement from the case, the group passed by the victim’s residence, which was hosting a child’s birthday party. The group then proceeded to park their trucks near the house and Torres, a part of a smaller group, retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle and “threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them.”
Torres reportedly testified that he carried the shotgun because he feared for his friends’ safety. In another report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, members of the Respect the Flag group said people at the party had thrown objects at them.
Norton apologized for her role in the incident saying, “I want you all to know that is not me. That is not me, that is not him. I would never walk up to you and say those words to you. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry.”
A jury convicted Torres and Norton on February 6. They are both banished from Douglas County when they’re released from prison.