Will Christopher Staples’ Home Arson Be Treated As A Hate Crime?

Without a hate crime statute, Georgia must rely on federal prosecutors to pursue suspects and use the Matthew Shepard Act to elevate charges. Which means in the case of Christopher Staples, the 43-year-old gay man whose home was torched after being warned he would “burn in hell” by a note thrown through his window, the FBI’s involvement is crucial to mounting a hate crimes investigation. So far, the federal authorities are helping with the case, “but everything we have so far indicates that the case will stay with Carroll County authorities,” says Special Agent Stephen Emmett, an FBI spokesman.