Couple Sentenced for Terrorizing Black Child's Party With Guns and Confederate Flags

Thursday, 02 Mar, 2017

The pair, travelling in a four-by-four decked out with Confederate flags, hurled racist abuse and threatened to kill partygoers - including children.

Two people found guilty of threatening a black family at a child's birthday party in the USA state of Georgia have received lengthy prison sentences.

And when they came to a home where a group of black party-goers had gathered for a child's birthday party, they yelled racial slurs as they drove by, according by CNN.

A judge heard that they were among a group of around 15 people who targeted the party in Douglasville, Georgia, in 2015. At one point, Norton loaded a gun and Torres pointed it at a party guest. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported members of "Respect the Flag" said people at the party had thrown objects at them.

At the time of the incident, homeowner Melissa Alford told police that the mob that pulled onto her lawn was openly threatening to "kill y'all niggers", while advancing with weapons-yet no arrests were made at the time, because police said "the threats and weapons were not captured on video".

"We all have to be held accountable for our actions".

"I forgive you. I forgive all of you", she said, as Torres and Norton sat weeping.

Norton's victim, Hyesha Bryant, 34, who attended the party said in court, "I forgive all of you". The other two pleaded guilty and are serving shorter prison terms.

Following the convictions, the Douglas County district attorney issued a statement clarifying that this case was not an issue of the First Amendment but of harassment.

"I would never allow someone to be prosecuted for exercising his or her First Amendment right to fly whatever flag they choose, regardless of anyone's personal feelings about it", District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a written statement. He emphasized it was about an organized group of people, who were intimidating and harassing citizens in the community simply because the color of their skin happened to be black. The Douglas County judge sentenced Torres to 20 years in prison with 13 to serve. Henderson was sentenced to two years. Norton was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with six to serve. Upon their release from prison, the couple will be permanently banned from Douglas County.

Torres and Norton were convicted for violating the states' Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and making terroristic threats.

The scene in the courtroom was an emotional one.

Torres and Norton broke down in tears at their sentencing. Norton apologized to the victims.