Iowa man sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison for burning an LGBTQ flag hanging from a church

Posted: Updated:
Adolfo Martinez Adolfo Martinez
(CNN Newsource) -

A man has been sentenced to about 15 years after burning an LGBTQ flag hanging from a church in Iowa.

Adolfo Martinez was found guilty on Wednesday after tearing down and burning the flag which was flying at the Ames United Church of Christ in June.

Martinez said he removed the flag because he didn't believe the church should support the LGBTQ community since it is a house of worship, the police report read.

"It was an honor to do that," Martinez told CNN affiliate KCCI. "It's a blessing from the Lord to be able to stand for his world firmly, against all odds."

The 30-year-old faces about 15 years in prison after being found guilty of arson in the 3rd degree in violation of individual rights, harassment in the 3rd degree and reckless use of fire or explosives, according to court documents.

Martinez said he was guilty and had no intention of fighting the charges as he "knowingly, intentionally and willingly" burned the flag.

"Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are a serious matter as they inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and strike fear into the communities they target," Courtney Reyes, the executive director of One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ organization, said. "That said, true justice should always strive to be about rehabilitation, reconciliation, and healing communities."

Reyes said that while her organization is appreciative of the seriousness of the crime, it does not see how the long sentence "accomplishes any of those goals."

"We will continue to strive for a justice system which values restoration over punishment and helps individuals like Adolfo Martinez understand the harm that they've caused."

Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds told KCCI since Martinez has a long history of harassment and was also charged as a habitual offender, he faced a harsher penalty.

"I believe him to be very dangerous," Reynolds said. "That's why my office recommended the maximum sentence."

  • NEWSNewsMore>>

  • Democrats appeal for GOP help to convict 'corrupt' Trump

    Democrats appeal for GOP help to convict 'corrupt' Trump

    Wednesday, January 22 2020 11:46 AM EST2020-01-22 16:46:35 GMT
    Wednesday, January 22 2020 8:16 PM EST2020-01-23 01:16:45 GMT
    (Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.(Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.
    (Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.(Jan. 22). The U.S. Senate plunged into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans solidly rejecting Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s offenses.
    President Donald Trump says he wants top aides to testify in his Senate impeachment trial, but he qualifies that by suggesting there are “national security” concerns that will keep that from happening.
    President Donald Trump says he wants top aides to testify in his Senate impeachment trial, but he qualifies that by suggesting there are “national security” concerns that will keep that from happening.
  • GKN Aerospace hosting career fair near Spirit AeroSystems

    GKN Aerospace hosting career fair near Spirit AeroSystems

    For those who have been laid off from the aerospace industry, there might be a small ray of hope. 

    For those who have been laid off from the aerospace industry, there might be a small ray of hope. 

  • Spirit employees frustrated over company communication

    Spirit employees frustrated over company communication

    A company memo sent out to Spirit employees said that departures for people affected by the recent layoffs would start today, but so far, no word.  “A lot of us have been messaging back and forth this morning and none of us have gotten a call from over here,” said Jill Relph.  Relph is a sheet metal mechanic at Spirit. Without receiving a call from her manager like expected, she decided to just show up for her shift and hope that her badge would let her in the ...
    A company memo sent out to Spirit employees said that departures for people affected by the recent layoffs would start today, but so far, no word.  “A lot of us have been messaging back and forth this morning and none of us have gotten a call from over here,” said Jill Relph.  Relph is a sheet metal mechanic at Spirit. Without receiving a call from her manager like expected, she decided to just show up for her shift and hope that her badge would let her in the ...

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Kansas woman pleads guilty to sexually abusing, starving 5-year-old boy

      A Kansas woman accused of sexually abusing and starving a 5-year-old boy has pleaded guilty.  

    • KU, KSU players suspended for roles in brawl

      Kansas basketball player Silvio De Sousa has been suspended indefinitely for his role in a brawl at the end of Tuesday's game against Kansas State. 

    • Ugly brawl breaks out at end of Kansas State-Kansas game

      Third-ranked Kansas and Kansas State ended their bitter showdown Tuesday night with a wild melee behind the basket that included punches, shoving and at least one player picking up a stool, moments after the Jayhawks tried to dribble out the time on their 81-59 victory.

    • WPTA

      FedEx warns of scam text messages that hack your phone

      A scam that hooks victims via a text that appears to come from FedEx is prompting warnings from the company and from law enforcement agencies.

    • Courtesy KTKA

      Kansas woman dies when car overturns in creek

      A 76-year-old Kansas woman has died after her car went off a highway and flipped into a creek. 

    • Snow creates slick roads across KAKEland

      Winter Weather Advisories are in effect until noon Wednesday for greater Wichita, Hutchinson, and central Kansas. 

    • Yahoo! Sports

      From Kansas to the 49ers, Katie Sowers makes NFL history

      “I remember we would make boys cry,” San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers said, laughing and adding some of that might have come from their technique: Seize “their shirts, spin them around and throw them down.”

    • Blake Bell's parents react to their son going to the Super Bowl

      Mark and Sherry Bell are still on cloud nine after watching their son Blake and the Kansas City Chiefs win the AFC Championship, sending them to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. "Well, one of the most magical moments was, you know, we got to go out on the field for the celebration and to see my son in tears and to see his Dad, and they hugged and they were crying. It just sums up everything we've ever been through all the years of following him in football, ju...
    • Closings & Delays

      The latest list of school and weather-related closings and delays.

    • Man arrested after smartphone app finds Wichita woman's stolen car

      Thanks to a phone app, Wichita police quickly found a car jacking victim's 2019 Ford Escape. Within 24 hours of the crime, investigators tracked it to a quick trip near downtown and took two suspects in for questioning.