A 30-year-old Iowa man named Adolfo Martinez has been found guilty of a hate crime, third-degree harassment, reckless use of fire, and being a habitual offender after tearing down and burning a rainbow Pride flag from the Ames United Church of Christ. He now faces up to 15 years in prison.
Although Martinez proudly admitted to burning the flag in Jesus’ name in a video interview with KCCI, police got a first inkling of his involvement after they were called to help eject him from Dangerous Curves, a “gentleman’s club” (i.e. a strip bar), at 12:30 a.m. on June 11, 2019.
At the time, Martinez was making threats and acting out at the club. The club ejected him, but he returned later and threatened to burn the business down, adding that he wished to burn a pride flag as well.
“Martinez left and returned with the pride flag and set it on fire along Fifth Street,” KCCI writes.
When asked about his response to the charges by a video journalist from KCCI, Martinez said:
It’s my honor. It is written. It is a judgement and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments upon the people… and it is my honor to do so. That was an honor to do that. It’s a blessing from the Lord to be able to stand for his word firmly against all odds, plain and simple…. I wish no harm upon any individual, however… I have god on my side. All day long.
“So this was about homosexuality?” the journalist asked.
“Yes, yes, yes,” Martinez said. “Exactly… I burned down their Pride. Plain and simple. No [regrets], none whatsoever. Why would there be so? Why would there be so? Honestly.”
At the time he said he had no plans to fight the charges because, “I’m guilty, I’m guilty as charged. I’ll say it on camera as well. Live! Let it be known. I’m guilty as charged plain and simple. Knowingly, willingly and intentionally did I do that. Yup.”
No date has yet been set for his sentencing hearing.