Bail Hearing Postponed for Hate Crime Suspect in Meriden Mosque Shooting

A federal judge has postponed a bail hearing for a man charged with firing a rifle at a Connecticut mosque to allow his lawyer more time to prepare.

The FBI charged Ted Hakey Jr., 48, a former U.S. Marine, with a federal hate crime and detained without bail in connection with the shooting at Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.

Four bullets struck the mosque after Hakey Jr. shot it with a high-powered rifle, according to investigators.

No one was inside the mosque, which is next to Hakey's home, when four bullets struck it.
Hakey's bail hearing began Dec. 21 and was to resume Dec. 28, but a judge postponed it to Jan. 4 at the request of Hakey's attorney, Jeffrey Cohen.

Cohen says he needs time to respond to prosecutors' claims that Hakey is too dangerous to be granted bail.

The shooting at the Baitul Aman Mosque was reported on Nov. 15, just two days after the deadly terror attacks in Paris. Hakey Jr., 48, lives at 380 Main Street, next door to the mosque.

Members of the mosque discovered the damage and a bullet inside the building and called police.

The FBI began an investigation and found shell casings in Hakey's yard, according to the arrest affidavit.

During an interview, Hakey told investigators that he had fired his gun on his property after returning home from a night of drinking at a bar in Wallingford.  It was about six hours after the Paris attacks.

He said he was shooting at a wood pile and did not intend to hit the mosque, federal agents said in the affidavit.

FBI investigators examined Hakey's phone and found several texts and Facebook messages disparaging Islam and Muslims, according to the affidavit.

"Is Muslim season open yet? I'm in a target rich environment," one Facebook message from July read.

Federal prosecutors praised the work of the FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police and Meriden Police that led to the arrest.

"This arrest should serve as a clear message that crimes of hate against individuals of any race, creed, gender or religious background will not be tolerated," FBI Special Agent in Charge Patricia Ferrick.

Hakey is charged with intentionally damaging religious property through use of a dangerous weapon.  He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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