Murfreesboro Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Civil Rights Charges Relating To Islamic Center Vandalism
Charles Dwight Stout, III, 20, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to damage religious property and to causing damage to religious property because of its religious character, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Stout was indicted in September 2017 along with Thomas Gibbs, 18, also of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and charged with conspiring to commit a civil rights violation and committing a civil rights violation through damaging and defacing the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
According to the plea agreement, Stout admitted that on July 10, 2017, he conspired to vandalize the Islamic Center by placing bacon, a pork product forbidden by Islam, around an entrance; and spray painted profane references to Allah on multiple parts of the Center’s exterior; and concealed his identity in the commitment of these crimes by wearing a Soviet World War II-era gas mask.
Stout was previously indicted on August 30, 2017, for obstructing a federal investigation by deleting photographic evidence. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government will dismiss the obstruction charge and Stout agrees to a sentence of one year supervised release and the payment of restitution in an amount determined by the court when he is sentenced on August 13, 2018.
Charges against Thomas Gibbs are still pending and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Sara Beth Myers and Henry C. Leventis are prosecuting the case.