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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Queens Resident Sentenced to More than 18 Years’ Imprisonment for Hate Crimes Targeting Arabs, Muslims and Hindus

Defendant Firebombed Mosque and a Hindu Temple

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Ray Lazier Lengend was sentenced by United States District Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall to 18 years and 10 months in prison, to be followed by three years’ supervised release, for perpetrating hate crimes in Queens, New York.  Lengend pleaded guilty in December 2017 to two counts of hate crimes through the use of fire and explosives.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentence.

 “Lengend’s firebombing of houses of worship out of hatred of certain religions and races is the antithesis of what this country is all about,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “Such hate-filled crimes, through which he spread fear and endangered the lives of first responders and others, will never be tolerated by the Justice Department or the American people.  I commend the law enforcement officers who quickly apprehended the defendant and restored a sense of security to our community.” 

“In 2012, Lengend, motivated by hate, fire-bombed five buildings in Queens with the intent to kill or maim innocent people simply because of their religion or national origins,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Today, he learned the consequences of his despicable actions.  His sentence should serve as a reminder the FBI will never waver in its commitment to protecting and preserving the rights of all Americans, including the free exercise of one’s chosen religion.”

On January 1, 2012, the defendant went on a firebombing spree, attacking five buildings in Queens with Molotov cocktails, including a Shiite mosque, the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation and a private residence that housed a Hindu temple.  He was arrested the next day.  Following the defendant’s arrest, he stated that he hated Arabs, Muslims and Middle Easterners.  With respect to the mosque bombing, the defendant stated that he had intended to “take out as many Arabs as possible.”  No one was injured by the defendant’s attacks.

Lengend was prosecuted in a parallel proceeding in State Supreme Court in Queens, and pleaded guilty to attempted arson as a hate crime and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in October 2017.  Today’s sentence will run concurrent with the state sentence.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Taryn A. Merkl and Nomi Berenson are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant:

Age:  46
Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 12-CR-188  (LDH)

Hate Crimes
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated December 6, 2018