ARLINGTON — According to court documents, the man who vandalized an Arlington mosque last July told investigators he did it because he hated Arabs and people of Middle Eastern descent.
Prosecutors charged 34-year-old Henry Glaspell under federal hate crime statutes that could have sent him to prison for 20 years.
But Glaspell cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in exchange for a 14-month sentence.
"I just want to wish him all the best, even though he wished us all the harm," said Jamal Qaddura, the former president of the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center in south Arlington, which is not far from where Glaspell lived.
Investigators said Glaspell admitted shouting racial slurs at worshipers and throwing used cat litter at the front door.
Surveillance video shows him painting anti-Islam obscenities on the mosque parking lot and setting the playground on fire.
Investigators with Arlington police and the FBI quickly identified him using photos of Glaspell and his pickup truck.
"Today is proof that due process is blind and it applies to everyone," Qaddura said.
The vandalism happened during the emotional fight over a proposed mosque near the site of the September 11 attack in Manhattan. There's no reference to that in court documents, but they do reveal Henry Glaspell was in treatment for alcohol abuse.
His plea agreement forbids him to drink alcohol and requires him to undergo anger management counseling in Virginia, where he now lives.
The Justice Department issued a news release saying, "Hate-fueled incidents of this kind will not be tolerated in our country. The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting hate crimes against all persons."
A federal judge in Fort Worth will formally sentence Henry Glaspell on July 11.