Suspect charged with hate crime in Victoria Islamic Center fire

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Man charged with a hate crime, accused of buring Victoria mosque

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against a 25-year-old man in connection to a fire at the Victoria Islamic Center in January.

A three-count indictment against Mark Vincent Perez was granted by a federal grand jury Thursday.

Perez now faces a charge for hate crime - "damage to a religious property as well as use of a fire to commit a federal felony in relation to the arson at the mosque," according to officials.

Perez was initially charged on March 3 in an attempt to blow up a car with destructive device. Evidence also linked Perez to a Jan. 22 burglary of the Islamic Center, along with the Jan. 28 burglary and arson of the mosque.

If convicted, Perez faces up to 20 years in federal prison for hate crime. He also faces up to 10 years for possessing a destructive device. If convicted of use of a fire to commit a felony, the penalty is a minimum of 10 years in prison. All of the counts also carry a $250,000 penalty, according to officials.

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Matt Vincent Perez charged with hate crime in Victoria Islamic Center fire


RELATED: Victoria mosque destroyed in early-morning blaze; cause unknown

RELATED: Investigator: Suspect in Texas mosque fire feared Muslims
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