Preston Q. Howard, 50, of Wright City, Missouri, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to 24 months in prison for obstructing persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 247(a)(2). The judge enhanced the sentence because Mr. Howard chose his victims based on their religion, thereby committing a hate crime. When imposing the sentence, Chief Judge Hall noted Howard’s “disturbing pattern of intolerance of many groups of people,” and the Court’s intent to afford a deterrent to similar criminal conduct by Howard and others who may believe and act as he did.
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