CAPE GIRARDEU, Mo. (AP) — A man who set a fire that destroyed an Islamic center in southeast Missouri has pleaded guilty to hate crime and arson charges. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that 44-year-old Nicholas John Proffitt, of Cape Girardeau, pleaded guilty in the April 2020 fire at the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center. Videos show Proffitt breaking windows at the center, entering the building and pouring contents of containers in the foyer and hallway. He then lit the fire, which destroyed the center. Proffitt acknowledged to prosecutors that he set the fire because of the religious nature of the center. About a dozen people escaped and no one was injured.
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