A Georgia couple was sentenced to 35 years total Monday for their role in terrorizing a black child’s birthday party.
Authorities described Jose Torres and Kayla Norton as “white supremacists.” Police say the couple were in a group with about a dozen other people who drove trucks flying Confederate flags past a home where a black child’s birthday party was being held in July 2015.
Officials say Torres and Norton yelled racial slurs and threatened to kill partygoers, including the children. Torres pointed a shotgun at the victims before police arrived.
Torres and Norton were both found guilty in a trial Monday. They were in tears nearly the entire hearing.
Before the judge sentenced the couple, family members took the stand to talk about the pair, who have three young kids together.
Norton stood afterward and said she accepted responsibility and that it was the worst decision of her life not to walk away when she had the chance.
“And we didn’t go home, and I don’t know why,” she said. “But I want you all to know that is not me. That is not him. I would never walk up to you and say those words to you, and I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry.”
The apology caused some to break down and even leave the courtroom, but one mother stood up and testified.
“You stayed, and you affected my life and you affected my children’s lives,” she said. ” But, I forgive you. I forgive all of you. I’m not a mean-spirited person. I forgive you,” she said.
When the judge sentenced the couple, he called their crimes hate-filled and racially motivated.
Torres was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 of those years to be served in prison.
Norton received a 15-year sentence, with six of those years to be served in prison.