June 20, 2021

Florida man guilty of setting store on fire during unrest

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man was convicted Tuesday of setting fire to a sporting goods store and shopping center in Tampa during unrest that followed protests over the death of George Floyd last year.

Terrance Lee Hester Jr., 20, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court to damaging or destroying by fire a building used in interstate commerce, according to court records. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years and up to 20 years in prison, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Hester was identified in surveillance video as throwing a flaming piece of cloth into a Champs Sports store through a broken window last May, according to a criminal complaint. The damage to the store and other businesses in the plaza was estimated at $1.25 million.

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