Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Man admits guilt in Brookside doughnut shop arson case

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A Tulsa man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to attempting to burn down a Brookside business after it hosted an event with drag queens.

Coby Dale Green, 24, will serve five years in prison after admitting he violated the law regarding the malicious use of explosive materials when he threw a Molotov cocktail into the business, under the terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

A judge will consider at Green’s sentencing whether to accept the binding plea agreement.

“The Molotov Cocktail that Green threw into the Donut Hole was fueled by bias and had the power to burn down several businesses,” U.S. Attorney Clinton Johnson said in a statement. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners and the prosecution team for holding the defendant accountable for his actions.”

Firefighters responding the morning of Oct. 31 to a call at 3305 S. Peoria Ave. found an unbroken beer bottle laying on the ground just inside the doughnut business. The bottle contained a reddish liquid and cloth wick.

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The front window of the business had been smashed and the wick and fuel around the neck of the bottle were still burning, according to court records.

Surveillance video of the scene the night of the attack depicted a hooded and masked person breaking out the front window with a baseball bat before throwing the flaming bottle inside and running.

When asked by the judge what was in the beer bottle, Green paused for several seconds before answering: “I think gasoline.”

Prior to throwing the Molotov cocktail, the person could be seen taping something to a nearby business.

Fire investigators later found anti-LGBTQ fliers attached to an adjacent business door.

The doughnut store reopened within a few days despite the attack that caused thousands of dollars in damage. About two weeks prior to the arson, someone smashed the store windows and front door before stealing the cash register and other items.

Investigators were led to Green early on in their investigation. A post on one of Green’s social media accounts stated: “OK, it’s officially time to shine our boots and put on our armbands boys, this disgusting filth has got to go,” according to court records.

The post was a response to the Donut Hole’s relationship with local drag queens, according to court records.

Investigators later obtained warrants to search Green’s home and obtain his cell phone locational data.

Investigators reported finding at Green’s home similar anti-LGBTQ fliers and clothing that was similar to that worn by the person in the surveillance video depicting the crime. Cell phone data also placed Green’s phone in the same locale as the doughnut shop when the arson occurred.

Green faced between five and 20 years imprisonment had he pleaded guilty without the binding plea agreement.

In addition to the five-year prison term, Green will serve three years of supervised release.

Green has been held in custody since his arrest June 15 after a federal judge determined there were no conditions of his release that would reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.

Green’s sentencing date will be determined after the U.S. Probation Office completes its presentencing investigation.

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