Skip to main content

MN man will plead guilty to starting fire at Grand Forks Somali restaurant

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The Minnesota man accused of starting a fire at a Somali-owned restaurant in Grand Forks says he will plead guilty.

Matthew Gust, 25, was charged with arson last December after investigators say he threw a 40-ounce beer bottle filled with gasoline through the window of the Juba Coffee House and Restaurant, causing roughly $90,000 in damage.

Gust faces two charges and a maximum sentence of 35 years –five years for malicious use of explosive materials and 30 years for use of a destructive device during a crime of violence, Forum News reported.

He pleaded not guilty in federal court to both the first charge in January, and the second charge in March.

Now his attorney has filed notice in federal court that Gust will plead guilty to two counts, the Pioneer Press reports. The plea deal calls for a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Ted Sandberg told the Associated Press Tuesday that any racial overtones were overblown by people who aren’t familiar with the case.

Days prior to the fire, the store was vandalized with graffiti including the words “go home” and a symbol used in Nazi Germany.

Investigators have said they’re not sure whether the vandalism was connected to the fire, but members of the community called it a hate crime.

Court records show that a change of plea hearing has not been scheduled, according to Forum News.

Next Up

image

Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.

Screen Shot 2022-12-07 at 7.38.02 AM

Quick shot of snow to impact morning commute in Twin Cities

Snow is moving into the metro Wednesday morning.

ambulance

Body found in burned out car near Bird Island identified as local farmer

The deceased is a 59-year-old man from rural Bird Island.

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.

snow, plow

Shifting storm tracks: Significant storms Friday, next week?

Sven Sundgaard has the details on an interesting forecast.

Life Link

Worker suffers serious injury in rooftop fall in rural Minnesota

The man only fell a few feet, but suffered a serious leg injury.

Walz, Flanagan

Minnesota reports massive projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion

The huge surplus comes as the DFL prepares to assume a trifecta of the Legislature and the Governor's House.

tap-gf9a40b157_1280

Boil water advisory issued for part of Minneapolis after water main break

The main break caused significant flooding in an area of North Minneapolis Monday evening.

Related

Grand Forks Sheriff's Department about to start using drones

The department in North Dakota will be among only seven law enforcement offices nationwide to use unmanned aircraft this spring. The Fargo Forum reports the sheriff's department has partnered with UND to develop an unmanned aircraft systems program that will be unique to the upper Midwest. The drones can be used for standoff situations and crime scenes as well as search and rescue operations.

Grand Forks columnist reviews some of the best New York City restaurants

Earlier this month, Marilyn Hagerty's review of the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks went viral. Following a media blitz with appearances on ABC, CBS and NBC, the 85-year-old scored a reservation at Le Bernardin, one of the top restaurants in NYC.

Grand Forks man gets jail time for shooting loud TV with .44

A man has been sentenced to six months in jail for putting others in danger after he shot a television set with a .44 Magnum because the volume was too loud.

Grand Forks Zombie Run hits dead end

Minnesotans who planned on strolling across the border to Grand Forks, N.D., to become one of the walking dead in the city's Zombie Run will have to kick up their feet this year. The event, which was scheduled in conjunction with the Grand Forks Zombie Music Fest next month, has been scrapped over conflicts with another marathon.