By Maria Boynton

Melissa Alford of Douglasville, Georgia, says when she saw the gun, all she imagined was bodies strewn across her yard. It was in July of 2015 that Alford was hosting an 8-year-old’s birthday party. It was filled with family and friends. She says she’ll never forget that day, when pickup trucks adorned with Confederate flags roared through the neighborhood. Alford also tells me that her family was threatened with a gun. One month earlier, a gunman had shot and killed 9 people as they attended Bible study at the historically black Mother Emanuel Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C. The group that roared into Alford’s neighborhood were supposedly on a ride meant to celebrate the flag. For their role in that racist rampage in Douglasville, 26 year old Jose “Joe” Torres, and 25 year old Kayla Norton have been sentenced to 19 years combined in prison. They sobbed on the day their fates were announced. Torres and Norton were found guilty of violating the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act and of making terroristic threats. The have also been banned from Douglas County.

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