ShareThis Page
News

Man gets 39 years for firebombing temple

| Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a man to 39 years in prison for firebombing a Jewish temple and later trying to send a racist letter to the congregation. The defendant raised his hand in a stiff-armed Nazi salute as the judge left the court.

Sean Gillespie, 21, of Spokane, Wash., was found guilty in April of three bombing-related charges for hurling a Molotov cocktail at Temple B'Nai Israel a year earlier. The act, which caused minor damage to a brick wall and a glass door, was captured on a security videotape.

Gillespie's sentence was lengthened because of the letter he attempted to send to the temple after his conviction. The letter, which was read in court, expressed hatred toward the Jewish people and a desire to spark a racial holy war.

Temple B'Nai Israel's Rabbi Barry Cohen said the attack sparked fear and anger among temple members.

"There was little physical damage to the building, but there was clear psychological damage," Cohen said. "In this country, we can't be afraid in our places of worship. That's just not acceptable."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me