Gainesville, Georgia – A 17-year-old white girl from Georgia who was accused of plotting an attack on a Black church in 2019 was sentenced to four years in a juvenile facility on Thursday.
According to police, the unidentified teen planned to attack parishioners at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Gainesville.
The teenager’s plan was discovered when a student at her high school overheard her talking about the plot and alerted a school administrator, who notified a school resource officer.
The teenager, who was 16-years-old at the time, was arrested by Gainesville police in November of last year and charged with criminal attempt to commit murder.
“I have no doubt that we thwarted an attack that would’ve been ugly,” Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said.
He said the teen collected knives and wrote down how she planned to carry out an attack. He said the details of the alleged plot were “very sickening.”
“She’s a racist,” the police chief said.
Hall County Assistant District Attorney Julia Greene said the girl had a notebook that had writings about hurting people at a Black church. A T-shirt that said, “Free Dylann Storm Roof,” and had swastikas drawn on the sleeves was found in her backpack. “I do believe myself to be a white supremacist” was written on the other side of one of the shirts found in the girl’s backpack, Greene added.
The teenager’s plot resembled the one carried out by Dylann Roof at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina five years ago. On June 17, 2015, Roof shot and killed nine people at the church during a Bible study.
On Thursday, the girl pled guilty to one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony.
“I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done,” the teen said to the members of the church during her statement in court.
As part of a plea agreement, the teen will be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice until she turns 21 and face 10 years of probation for her plans to attack the church.
Her sentence also mandates an apology letter to the church.