A veteran who is charged with a hate crime after he decapitated a Satanic statue erected in Iowa‘s state capitol has been targeted because of his ‘conservative Christian faith’, his attorney has claimed.
Michael Cassidy, 36, faces five years in prison after he destroyed the figure, which was installed as part of a festive display, in December. He said he was ‘outraged’ by the ‘blasphemous’ effigy.
Prosecutors in Polk County initially charged Cassidy, a flight instructor and former Navy pilot, with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor related to destruction of property.
But the charge was suddenly escalated last week to ‘third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights’, which is a hate crime under Iowa state law.
His attorney, David Yountz, told DailyMail.com he is ‘very concerned’ that the dramatic escalation is because of Cassidy’s ‘conservative Christian faith’.