Two suspects who police believe spray painted swastikas and N----- all over an Antioch home last week, and then lit it on fire, faced a judge Friday.
Christyne McDaniel, 25, and her boyfriend, Roy Sorvari, 27, are accused of plotting to torture and kill Lloyd Shackleford, who had a relationship with one of the suspect’s sisters. He was in the McCormick Court house at the time of the attack last Wednesday, with his mother, his sister and her four children.
In court Friday, the pair said little, but McDaniel’s grandmother made up for that.
At one point, Gloria Petelle was allegedly heard threatening a district attorney, going so far as to call him a “rat.” She also told NBC Bay Area that McDaniel is not racist, and that the crime boils down to a misunderstanding.
But investigators claim on Sorvari bought glass bottles of Perrier water, cotton balls, and flour – the ingredients of a Molotov cocktail – from a Pittsburg grocery store on Sept. 7.
Hours later, authorities say, surveillance cameras captured footage of him throwing the weapons at Shackleford’s home, with the intent of trapping his entire family inside the burning structure. No one was injured, because Shackleford’s sister woke up and alerted the family to the flames, but part of the house was charred.
“I hope the two get the help they need,” Shackleford said.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney's office has charged the duo on several counts, including arson, mayhem, torture, conspiracy to commit murder, and assault with a deadly weapon. They have also been slapped with hate crimes enhancements, and are being held on $1,290,000 bail, police said.
Anastasia Bogdanova has known Sorvari for years and said the charges just don’t make sense.
“It’s very shocking,” she said.
Sorvari was homeschooled and comes from a “great family, according to Bogdanova.
“He’s just a great person,” she insisted, “a great guy.”
However, authorities also uncovered a racially-fueled online post from 2011, in which Sorvari painted himself as a crime fighter who sees his enemy as “an invading army of thugs — the poor, usually black, residents who have moved into Antioch.”
Sorvari’s neighbors too struggled to believe the crime he is being accused of.
“We are a very peaceful neighborhood,” Dorris Zimmerman said.
Both suspects will be back in court on Oct. 5.