Connecticut man pleads guilty to charge of shooting at mosque

A Connecticut man pleaded guilty on Thursday to a federal hate crime for shooting at a mosque next door to his home shortly after November’s deadly attacks in Paris.

Ted Hakey Jr., 48, of Meriden, pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally damaging religious property by using a dangerous weapon, U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly in Connecticut said.

Hakey entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Michael Shea in Hartford, Connecticut.

The defendant faces up to 20 years in prison at his May 10 sentencing, but just eight to 14 months under recommended federal guidelines. Hakey also faces a maximum $250,000 fine. He remains free on $400,000 bail.

Lawyers for Hakey did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Authorities said Hakey fired four shots with a rifle at the Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden in the early morning of Nov. 14, 2015, after learning about the attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants the day before, which killed 130 people.

The mosque was vacant at the time, and no one was injured.

Authorities have said Hakey was drinking before firing the shots and had denied any intent to hit the mosque, but that investigators found numerous Facebook postings in which the defendant had expressed hatred for Muslims.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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