Utah man sentenced to prison for shooting at synagogue

Published July 15, 2014 5:43 pm
Hate crime • Macon Michael Openshaw will serve 60 months in federal prison.
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A Cottonwood area man was sentenced Tuesday to serve 60 months in federal prison for a hate-motivated attack at a Salt Lake City synagogue and for two unlawful gun possession charges.

Macon Michael Openshaw, 22, also was ordered to pay $1,969 in restitution to the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue for damage he caused in 2012. He must serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term.

In April, Openshaw pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the civil rights violation of damaging the synagogue and to the gun charges.

Judge Tena Campbell on Tuesday sentenced Openshaw to the maximum possible prison time.

As part of his plea, Openshaw admitted to firing three rounds from a .22-caliber handgun at the synagogue. There was no one inside at the time, but the bullets broke windows and damaged the building, according to court documents.

Openshaw said he shot the synagogue because of its religious character, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Openshaw also admitted to possessing a handgun with a destroyed serial number, which was the same handgun he used to shoot the synagogue. He also admitted to possessing several firearms and ammunition while he was subject to a protective order.

"Every person living in Utah has the right to be free from intimidating and threatening conduct," said Acting U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen for the District of Utah. "The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah has a strong history of prosecuting those who violate the civil rights of others in our communities."

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