Superior Court Judge William McClain castigated the two, Kayla Rae Norton, 25, and Jose Ismael Torres, 26, for perpetrating what he called a hate crime.
He sentenced Torres to 20 years, with 13 to serve in prison; Norton was given 15 years, with six to serve. Upon their release, McClain ordered them to be permanently banished from Douglas County.
“Their actions were motivated by racial hatred,” said McClain.
Torres did not address the court during the proceedings, only crying when three of his family members took the stand to describe him as a hardworking plumber, volunteer football coach and devoted father of three. His children’s mother, Norton, however, addressed several people who’d attended the birthday party and had come to witness the sentencing.
“I do accept responsibility for what I’ve done,” Norton said, often choking on her words as she spoke directly to the group. “What happened to you is absolutely awful. From mother to mother, I cannot imagine having to explain what that word means.”