Veteran who vandalized mosque kills himself after sentencing


A US Army veteran responsible for vandalizing a Colorado mosque took his own life last Saturday, a mere day after he was sentenced for the hate crime he pleaded guilty to.

36-year-old former Army medic and Iraq veteran Joseph Giaquinto was found dead in a Fort Collins Motel 6 on Saturday, with Larimer County Sheriff’s deputies sealing off the area to investigate.

The day prior to his suicide, Giaquinto was charged with a hate crime after vandalizing a nearby Islamic Center in March, when he broke windows, threw a Bible into the building and overturned outdoor furniture. He was sentenced to three years of wellness court and a work release program.

Joseph’s father, Michael Giaquinto, said his son was a medic for eight years, serving in Iraq and Korea.

According to the Coloradoan, Giaquinto was previously diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress and substance abuse disorders and was living off veteran’s benefits at the time.

The wellness court -which would have required constant weekly visits before a judge, constant monitoring, treatment and a seven-week PTSD residential rehabilitation program in Wyoming- reportedly would have jeopardized his veteran’s benefits.

Following the Thursday sentence, Giaquinto took his life in a motel room on Friday and his body was found the following day.

According to a statement from Islamic Center president Tawfik Aboellail, “As our prophet taught us by example, we grieve the loss of Mr. Giaquinto’s life as we sincerely hoped he would have gotten the help he needed and deserved. Our thoughts are with his family and we hope that they might find peace and comfort.”

National resources, including the Veterans Crisis Line, were available for Giaquinto at the time of his death.

Giaquinto’s suicide is currently under investigation.

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