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Press Release

Joliet Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Setting Fire In 2007 To Home Of Neighboring African-American Family

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — An admitted white-supremacist was sentenced today to the maximum of 10 years in federal prison for violating the civil rights of an African-American family whose home he set on fire after they moved onto his block in 2007. The defendant, BRIAN JAMES MOUDRY, pleaded guilty in January of this year and agreed to the 10-year sentence, admitting that at approximately 4 a.m. on June 17, 2007, he carried a can containing gasoline to the home, splashed the gasoline on the residence and ignited it. No one was injured, although the home was occupied by eight children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, and an adult at the time of the fire.

Moudry, 36, formerly of the 300 block of South Reed Street, Joliet, pleaded guilty to using fire to interfere with the victims’ housing rights on the basis of race. He has been in federal custody since he was arrested on May 30, 2012. U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman imposed the agreed maximum sentence and ordered Moudry to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment. He also ordered Moudry to pay $7,108 in restitution to cover damage to the residence and to reimburse the Joliet Fire Department.

“This was an exceptionally despicable crime motivated by hate. The victims of the arson did nothing, but move into a new residence in Joliet. Unbeknownst to the victims, several houses down lived a white supremacist who never knew the victims but hated them because they were African American,” the government argued in a sentencing memo.

“There is nothing we do as federal prosecutors that’s more important, not to mention more satisfying, than vindicating the rights of our fellow citizens, whatever their race, ethnicity, or religious background, to live in peace and security,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“One of the FBI’s top priorities is safeguarding the rights of all Americans. This case demonstrates our commitment to investigate and bring to justice those whose hatred of others leads them to violate civil rights,” said Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In pleading guilty, Moudry admitted that he was upset that an African-American family rented a house at 318 South Reed St., in May 2007 on the same block as his house. He admitted that he set the fire because African-Americans were occupying the home, and that he intended to interfere with their continued ability to rent the residence and to intimidate the owner from continuing to rent to African-Americans.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy DePodesta and Steven Dollear.

Updated July 23, 2015