A federal judge has sentenced a suburban Chicago man to the maximum 10 years in prison for setting fire to the home of an African-American family that moved onto the street of his residence.
Brian James Moudry was sentenced Wednesday in Chicago. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal in January. Prosecutors say the 36-year-old splashed gasoline on his neighbor's Joliet home in June 2007 and ignited it. Eight children and an adult were inside but were able to escape.
“This was an exceptionally despicable crime motivated by hate," the government argued in a sentencing memo. "The victims of the arson did nothing, but move into a new residence in Joliet. Unbeknownst to the victims, several houses down lived a white supremacist who never knew the victims but hated them because they were African American."
Moudry pleaded guilty to using fire to interfere with the victims' housing rights on the basis of race. He has been in custody since May 2012. A judge also ordered Moudry to pay more than $7,000 in restitution and undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“There is nothing we do as federal prosecutors that’s more important, not to mention more satisfying, than vindicating the rights of our fellow citizens, whatever their race, ethnicity, or religious background, to live in peace and security,” said U.S. Attorney Gary S. Shapiro.