In the summer of 2015, the Confederate Flag was under fire after the Charleston Shooting and many people were calling for the removal of the flag from many different public areas. In response, a group of Southerners drove around a Georgia town with guns while waving Confederate Flags. After their caravan of trucks came under attack from objects being thrown, the group stopped at a birthday party for a young black family. The situation quickly devolved into a string of racist bigotry that was captured on cellphone video and later presented to authorities, who then charged two of the assailants under a Georgia street gang law.
A Georgia judge has sentenced Kayla Norton, 25, and Jose “Joe” Torres, 26, to spend a combined 19 years in prison for their role in a group’s racist rampage at an 8-year-old’s birthday party — an assault that included shouting racial slurs, making armed threats and waving Confederate battle flags.
“I’m so sorry that happened to you,” Norton told the family that endured the assault, weeping in the courtroom at Monday’s sentencing. “I am so sorry.”
After telling the court that she accepted responsibility for her actions, Norton turned to the area of the courtroom where families who attended the birthday party were seated.
“But I want you all to know that that is not me,” Norton told them. “That is not me.”
Norton and Torres, who are not married, have three children together. Prosecutors say they were part of a gang of white supremacists who targeted African-Americans with racist taunts and threatened to murder minorities.
In court Monday, both Norton and Torres sat hunched over and crying after Superior Court Judge William “Beau” McClain handed down his sentence: 13 years in prison and seven years’ probation for Torres, and six years in prison with nine years’ probation for Norton. Both of them are also banished from Douglas County, McClain said.