Update March 2:
After receiving a combined 35-year sentence for terrorizing the birthday party of an 8-year-old Black child, Kayla Rae Norton, 25, and Jose Ismael Torres, 26, delivered an emotional address to guests of the party.
Although the couple appeared distraught in court, the grandmother of the 8-year-old victim was not moved by their tears.
When Melissa Alford remembered the trucks, decorated in Confederate flags, driving past the party while white supremacists screamed racial slurs and threatened her grandson, it was hard for her to take to Norton and Torres's tears.
“When that gun was loaded, did you think about your children then?” Alford said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “So, why you crying now?”
Previous February 28:
On Monday, a Georgia couple was sentenced to a combined prison sentence of 35 years for terrorizing a Black child’s birthday party with Confederate flags and threats.
Jose Ismael Torres, 26, and Kayla Rae Norton, 25, (pictured above) were first arrested and convicted earlier in the month under a street gang terrorism law for the 2015 incident. Their harassment of the child’s party in Douglassville, outside Atlanta, involved them driving by the party with confederate flags and yelling racial slurs, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to witnesses, one person shouted the n-word, another reportedly held a gun while shouting he “was gonna kill the n*****s.”
During the sentencing, Superior Court Judge William McClain stated that what Torres, 26, and Norton, 25, had committed was nothing less than a hate crime.
Torres was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 of them in prison, for aggravated assault, terroristic threats and street gang terrorism.
Norton was sentenced to 15, serving six, for terroristic threats and street gang terrorism.
Party guest Melissa Alford believes the sentence was very much deserved.
"Justice has been served," Melissa Alford said in a statement to the Daily News.
Although the debate about the freedom to wave the Confederate flag has been prevalent in the South, prosecutors have said that the cases against Torres, Norton and other defendants are not about their right to wave the flag, but on threats they made against the party attendees.
"This is behavior that even supporters of the Confederate battle flag can agree is criminal and shouldn’t be allowed," Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement.
(Photo: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)
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