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Matthew William Gust who firebombed a Somali restaurant asks to be released again

An East Grand Forks man who set fire last December to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks is asking again to be released from jail until he is sentenced in September.

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FILE PHOTO: investigators dig through debris at Juba Coffee House on Dec. 8, 2015. (Lori Weber Menke/Grand Forks Herald)

An East Grand Forks man who set fire last December to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks is asking again to be released from jail until he is sentenced in September.
Matthew William Gust, 25, pleaded guilty May 19 to two federal charges in May: malicious use of explosive materials and interference with a federally protected activity, a federal hate crime that was last used in North Dakota about five years ago. The hate crime charge stems from a federal law that, in Gust's case, protects the restaurant's owners and customers based on their national origin. Gust admitted to setting fire to Juba Coffee House and Restaurant on South Washington Street with a Molotov cocktail, causing at least $90,000 in damage Dec. 8. After pleading guilty, Gust asked the court a few days later to be released from jail leading up to his sentencing, but Judge Ralph Erickson turned down that request June 1. In a handwritten letter from Cass County jail filed Wednesday, Gust asked Erickson a second time to release him on electronic home monitoring to his parents' home in East Grand Forks until his sentencing hearing at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in Fargo federal court. "You have my word I'll be in your courtroom on 9-6-16," Gust said in the letter. Gust is facing 15 years in prison on his charges through a plea deal he signed.An East Grand Forks man who set fire last December to a Somali restaurant in Grand Forks is asking again to be released from jail until he is sentenced in September.
Matthew William Gust, 25, pleaded guilty May 19 to two federal charges in May: malicious use of explosive materials and interference with a federally protected activity, a federal hate crime that was last used in North Dakota about five years ago. The hate crime charge stems from a federal law that, in Gust's case, protects the restaurant's owners and customers based on their national origin.Gust admitted to setting fire to Juba Coffee House and Restaurant on South Washington Street with a Molotov cocktail, causing at least $90,000 in damage Dec. 8.After pleading guilty, Gust asked the court a few days later to be released from jail leading up to his sentencing, but Judge Ralph Erickson turned down that request June 1.In a handwritten letter from Cass County jail filed Wednesday, Gust asked Erickson a second time to release him on electronic home monitoring to his parents' home in East Grand Forks until his sentencing hearing at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 6 in Fargo federal court."You have my word I'll be in your courtroom on 9-6-16," Gust said in the letter.Gust is facing 15 years in prison on his charges through a plea deal he signed.

Related Topics: FIRES
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