Fort Pierce mosque arson suspect may change plea

Fort Pierce mosque arson suspect may change plea

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The Port St. Lucie man authorities believe set a mosque on fire last year may change his plea Monday.

The suspect, Joseph Schreiber,  is scheduled to appear before a judge in Fort Pierce at 1:30 p.m.

His attorney told NewsChannel 5 last week that Schreiber may change his plea from not guilty to no contest. That means he won't argue the arson charge he faces.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said Schreiber previously admitted to them he set the mosque on fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce and was "embarrassed" to have committed the crime.

The 32-year-old has been in jail with no bond since his September arrest a few days after the fire.

Prosecutors said Schreiber is a habitual offender and they plan to prosecute the charge as a hate crime.

Last month, Schreiber sent a letter to the St. Lucie County Clerk of Court referring to an upcoming hearing as his sentencing hearing. However, a sentencing hearing cannot take place until he changes his plea or is convicted.

The fire caused significant damage to the Islamic Center.

Schreiber faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

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