Arroyo Grande cross burners sentenced to prison
May 22, 2012
Three of the four defendants accused of committing a hate crime against a black teen in Arroyo Grande last year were sentenced to prison on Monday.
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy sentenced Jason Kahn, 36, to 12 years in prison for two counts of terrorism and for committing a hate crime. During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors argued that Kahn demonstrated his affinity for white supremacy by sporting several swastika and white power tattoos and that the cross burning was racially motivated.
Sara Matheny, 24, and William Soto, 20, received sentences of five years each for one count of arson and terrorism, and for committing a hate crime.
The fourth defendant, Jeremiah Hernandez, 32, plead not guilty and his trial is slated to conclude this week. His attorney has argued Hernandez had nothing to do with the cross burning.
On March 18, 2011, Kahn, Hernandez, Soto, and Matheny allegedly set ablaze an 11-foot cross in direct view of the 19-year-old woman’s bedroom in the home she resided in with her mixed-race family.