Another flag-burning story, and another example of how that kind of activity can be dealt with under current law without a constitutional amendment or somesuch. Via KATC-TV in Lafayette..
A 26-year-old Pineville man has pleaded guilty to three counts of simple arson for burning U.S. flags last year in Alexandria
The Town Talk reports the defendant, Ahmed Cathy Khaled, told the judge that he shouldn’t have listened to the voices in his head brought on by not taking medication for schizophrenia.
Khaled was sentenced Monday to five years on each felony arson charge, which will run concurrently, by state District Judge Tom Yeager.
Khaled also was on probation from East Baton Rouge Parish on a conviction of aggravated obstruction of a highway when he burned at least three U.S. flags at three Alexandria residences in September.
The four-year sentence for breaking the East Baton Rouge probation also will be served concurrently with the five-year arson sentences handed down by Yeager.
“I was hearing voices, and I was having a crisis in my life, and I shouldn’t have listened to those voices” that moved him to burn the flags, Khaled told Yeager.
Khaled said he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“I have a problem,” he said.
“You need to take your meds, son,” Yeager told him.
Khaled was facing a maximum 10-year sentence on each arson charge if he’d been convicted at trial.
The Alexandria Town Talk also noted that the initial charge was flag desecration and hate crime. Which is stupid; charge the guy with that stuff and he’s not a nutjob petty criminal but a martyr with the ACLU giving him a free legal defense.
Khaled was originally charged by Alexandria Police with flag desecration and hate crime as well as arson, criminal mischief and attempted simple arson.
A Town Talk news article in September featured 79-year-old Charles “Chuck” Mayeux of Charles Park in Alexandria.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran said Alexandria police told him Khaled pulled down Mayeux’s 3-foot by 5-foot American flag from a 14-foot flag pole, doused the flag with gasoline, lit it, then ran it back up the pole as it burned.
Mayeux said he was inside his Charles Park home during the burning but didn’t hear Khaled.
By the by, Ahmed Cathy Khaled? Maybe he’s not just nuts. And maybe that voice in his head has a name.