Tuesday, October 19, 2004
2 sentenced for hate crime
Posted 3:07 p.m.
A federal judge sentenced two men Tuesday in connection with the vandalism of a historically black church in Roanoke, ruling that their actions constituted a hate crime.
After calling the desecration of Mount Moriah Baptist Church "a very horrible, despicable act," federal judge Glen Conrad sentenced Zachary Lee Bryant of Bedford County to two years and three months in federal prison, and ordered him to pay a fine of $3,000.
Conrad also sentenced Christopher Frank Martin of Roanoke to almost two years in federal prison in connection with breaking into the church in January and causing about $75,000 in damage. Martin will also have to pay a fine of $3,000.
Bryant, 23, and Martin, 36, had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights. They have also faced state court charges in connection with the incident.
Bryant is already in custody at Roanoke City Jail after getting sentenced to nine months on the state charges in connection with the incident. He will serve that sentence at the same time as his federal sentence, Conrad ruled. Martin has yet to be sentenced on the state charge.