Suspect in Meriden Mosque Hate Crime Released on Bond

A man charged with a hate crime for allegedly opening fire into a Connecticut mosque was released on a $400,000 bond.

He was due in court on Monday and Jan. 4. He will be living with his mother in Shelton and be confined to his home with GPS monitoring, Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's office said.

Ted Hakey Jr., 48, a former U.S. Marine, was charged by the FBI with intentionally damaging religious property through use of a dangerous weapon, a hate crime. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Hakey is accused of firing a high-powered rifle at the Baitul Aman Mosque next to his home on Main Street in Meriden following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.

Four bullets struck the mosque, according to investigators, who said no one was inside at the time. Members of the mosque called police after they discovered the damage and found a bullet in the building.

FBI agents began investigating and found shell casings in Hakey's yard, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

During an interview, Hakey told investigators that he had fired his gun on his property after returning home from a night of drinking at a bar in Wallingford about six hours after the Paris attacks. He said he was shooting at a wood pile and did not intend to hit the mosque, federal agents said in the affidavit.

FBI investigators examined Hakey's phone and found text messages and Facebook messages with derogatory comments about Islam and Muslims, according to the affidavit.

"Is Muslim season open yet? I'm in a target rich environment," one Facebook message from July read.

Hakey's bail hearing began Dec. 21 It was set to resume Dec. 28, but a judge postponed the hearing to Jan. 4 at the request of Hakey's attorney, Jeffrey Cohen, who needed time to respond to prosecutors' claims that Hakey is too dangerous to be granted bail.

Federal prosecutors praised the work of investigators involved in the case, including the FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police and Meriden Police Department.

"This arrest should serve as a clear message that crimes of hate against individuals of any race, creed, gender or religious background will not be tolerated," FBI Special Agent in Charge Patricia Ferrick said in a statement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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