- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A Florida man accused of threatening to firebomb a mosque last fall has pleaded guilty to a hate crime in federal court.

The Justice Department reported in a news release Friday that 43-year-old Martin Alan Schnitzler of Seminole pleaded guilty to obstructing persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines will likely call for a significantly lighter punishment.

Schnitzler admitted in his plea that he left a voicemail for the Islamic Center of Pinellas County hours after the November attacks in Paris, threatening to firebomb the center and “shoot whoever is there.” FBI investigators deemed the threats not credible.

Terrorists from the Islamic State group killed 130 people during the Nov. 13 attack in Paris.


Information from: The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, https://www.tampatrib.com

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