VICTORIA, Texas (AP) — A man convicted of torching a South Texas mosque last year has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

Marq Vincent Perez was sentenced Wednesday during a court hearing in Victoria, Texas.

In July, a jury convicted the 26-year-old Perez of federal arson, explosives and hate crime charges.

Mark Di Carlo, Perez's defense attorney, didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

At his trial, prosecutors said that a "rabid hatred" of Muslims led Perez to set fire to an Islamic center in Victoria, destroying the building.

Authorities asserted Perez aimed to terrorize Muslims along the middle Texas Gulf Coast and to cause damage and destruction.

Perez, who denied involvement in the blaze, could have been sentenced to up to 40 years.

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