The Associated Press reports:
An eastern Ohio man told investigators that he tried to burn down an Ohio church because he wanted to prevent a drag show that was scheduled to take place there, federal prosecutors allege in newly unsealed charges.
Aimenn Penny, a 20-year-old from Alliance who is a member of a “white lives matter” group that espouses racist and neo-Nazi views, tried to burn down the Community Church of Chesterland early on March 25, authorities allege in court documents unsealed Monday. Chesterland is a small community east of Cleveland.
According to the criminal complaint, Penny said he tried to burn down the church using Molotov cocktails because he wanted to “protect the children and stop the drag show event.” He also regretted that it didn’t work, authorities said.
From the Justice Department:
According to court documents, Aimenn D. Penny, 20, of Alliance, attempted to burn the church to the ground after learning the church was holding multiple drag show events the following weekend.
Penny was initially arrested and charged with federal offenses on March 31. If convicted, Penny faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison for the violation of the Church Arson Prevention Act.
Penny also faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison for the malicious use of explosive materials charge and up to 10 years in prison for the possession of a destructive device charge.
In addition, if convicted of using fire to commit a federal felony, Penny faces a 10-year mandatory prison sentence that will run consecutively with any other prison term imposed