Jackson man pleads guilty to defacing Torah

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A Jackson man admitted to defacing a Torah and plead guilty to a federal civil rights charge.

The Commercial Appeal reports 25-year-old Justin Shawn Baker entered the plea Monday in court.

U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton said that Baker spit on a Torah and defaced it with satanic and anti-Semitic phrases.

Students and faculty at the Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis were staying at the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson on January 12 and had used a meeting room to conduct a Sabbath worship. They left the items in the room overnight with plans to resume worship the next morning.

They arrived to find the items defaced.

Baker was working at the hotel at the time as a security guard.

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