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Examiner
  • Guilty pleas in firebombing of home

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  • Two Independence residents face sentences in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming setting fire to the home of a local family in 2008.
    Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, this week pleaded guilty to two counts each: racially motivated arson and conspiring to threaten and intimidate to keep members of a family from exercising their constitutional right to live in their home because of their race or color.
    The family – a man and woman and their minor children – lived in a house in the 600 block of South Arlington Street.
    The incident happened June 26, 2008. In their plea agreement with the government, Smith and Cheek-Herrera admitted discussing their desire to set fire to the home, that they drew a swastika and wrote “White Power” on the driveway, and that they made and lit a Molotov cocktail – a glass bottle filled with gasoline, with a rag inserted to serve as a wick – and threw it into the side of the house, setting it on fire.
    Both face up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the two counts.
    Smith and Cheek-Herrera each face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for one count of conspiracy against rights and a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for one count of interference with housing rights.
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