Police have arrested and charged 30-year-old Adolfo Martinez for the crime. And according to media reports, he gladly admits to the crime:
"It was an honor to do that. It's a blessing from the Lord," Martinez said. "It is a judgment and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishment upon the people.A quick glance at Iowa Courts Online indicate that Martinez has been charged with 1st Degree Harassment and Reckless Use of Fire of Explosives. Media reports indicate that he still might be charged with some form of hate crime.
Which isn't surprising. Martinez very clearly states in this article that he was targeting LGBTQ people when he stole the pride banner and burned it.
Ames UCC is an open & affirming church, which means that it fully welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and encourages their full inclusion as members and church leaders. Its pastor is Eileen Gebbie, who herself is a gay woman.
She was interviewed for this news story. She felt sadness for the attack on her church community, but welcomed Martinez to sit down with her and to learn more from each other.
Updated on 06/17/19: According to the Des Moines Register, Adolfo Martinez will indeed face hate crime charges for burning Ames UCC's rainbow flag:
After reviewing the evidence, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said hate crime charges will be added because Martinez is suspected of criminal mischief against someone's property because of "what it represents as far as sexual orientation..."
Reynolds said she could not give estimated sentencing for this crime until she has an estimate of the cost of the banner, but said Iowa Code says a hate crime with a serious misdemeanor "basically bumps that charge up a step."
For example, if the original crime is a serious misdemeanor, it will become an aggravated misdemeanor. Reynolds said she will be contacting federal authorities since they can give harsher sentences. She could not comment on what federal sentences would look like.