Man Who Set Fire To Somali Restaurant In North Dakota Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison

By Newsroom America Staff at 8 Sep 2016

(Newsroom America) -- Matthew Gust, 26, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for setting fire to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Gust admitted in his guilty plea that he set the Dec. 8, 2015, fire in order to intimidate and interfere with the Somali employees and patrons of the Juba Café.

Early that morning, he drove to a gas station and purchased a small amount of gasoline, which he used to fill a 40-ounce beer bottle, turning it into a Molotov cocktail. Gust then drove to the café, donned a face mask, punched a hole through the front window of the café, lit the Molotov cocktail, threw it through the window and fled.

The Molotov cocktail exploded on impact, creating an explosion and fire that engulfed Juba Café and caused more than $250,000 in damages.

Gust pleaded guilty on May 19 to an arson charge and a hate-crime charge. He was charged with those two counts by information on March 20. He had earlier been indicted by a grand jury for using a destructive device in the commission of a crime; that charge was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

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