Cape Girardeau Islamic Center arson suspect indicted on federal hate crime, arson charges

Proffitt indicted fro hate crime, arson

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau man accused of setting fire to the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

The indictment charges Nicholas J. Proffitt, 42, with damaging religious property because of the property’s religious character, using fire to commit a federal felony, and damaging a building used in interstate commerce through the use of fire.

Proffitt is accused of breaking the windows of the Islamic Center on April 24 and setting the building on fire with a flammable liquid.

The house of worship was significantly damaged.

The building also houses apartments and some were occupied when the fire broke out.

Multiple state, local and federal agencies investigated the fire.

Proffitt was arrested two days later and charged with felony burglary in the first degree, felony arson in the first degree and property damage in the first degree - hate crime.

He was later taken into federal custody and federally charged with arson.

Court records show this is not the first time Proffitt has been accused of a hate crime against the Islamic Center.

Proffitt was sentenced to three years behind bars for throwing rocks through the windows of the center in 2009, which damaged the center an a car parked near the building.

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