A Georgia couple was in tears as they were sentenced to prison terms for threatening and racially taunting Black attendees at a child’s birthday party.
Jose Torres, 26, and Kayla Norton, 25, were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison, respectively, Monday, Feb. 27, in a case stemming from a 2015 episode where they terrorized Black residents during an 8-year-old’s birthday party. Torres was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault, one of making terroristic threats and another of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Norton was convicted on one count of violation of the Street Gang Act and another count of making terroristic threats. Upon their release from prison, the couple will be permanently banned from Douglas County.
Torres and Norton were part of a group of Confederate flag supporters called Respect the Flag that rode around two local counties for two days hurling racial threats at Black residents and motorists and allegedly threatening to kill them. The incidents were prompted by South Carolina removing the Confederate flag from its state capital following the Charleston church shooting. Initially, 15 Respect the Flag members were indicted, but a district attorney told CNN some pled guilty and were granted shorter sentences.
“That is not me. That is not me. That is not him,” Norton says in a Douglas County courtroom post-sentencing. “I would never walk up to you and say those words to you. And I am so sorry that happened to you.”
“What you said affected my life,” a victim responds. “And it affected my children’s life.”
The defendants are expected to appeal the conviction.