USA v. Sechriest, Franklin Barrett
Austin, TX

Hate Crime

In March, 2022, a federal grand jury in Austin, Texas returned a three-count indictment charging Franklin Barrett Sechriest with crimes relating to the intentional fire set at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Austin. At around 9:00 p.m. in October 2021, Sechriest set fire to the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue. He was seen on surveillance video carrying a five-gallon container and toilet paper toward the synagogue's sanctuary. Moments later, multiple surveillance videos captured the distinct glow of a fire ignition appearing to come from the direction of the sanctuary. A security camera captured Sechriest jogging away from the direction of the fire and towards the open driver's side door of a vehicle. A concerned citizen reported the fire, and the Austin Fire Department responded quickly to extinguish it. No one was injured, but the fire caused over $200,000 in damage. In April 2023, Sechriest pleaded guilty to a hate crime and arson in connection with the fire he set at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in October 2021. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sechriest's sentencing is set for June 2023.