Published September 22, 2009
TROY, Ohio – A former high school basketball coach in Ohio has been sentenced to four years in prison for setting fire to his home, which prosecutors said he had done to portray himself as the victim of a hate crime.
Authorities who responded to the fire at James Clay's house in Troy found a spray-painted racial slur on his car.
The 2007 fire came days after Clay, who is black, was charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
At a sentencing hearing Monday, Judge Robert Lindeman told Clay that the community was the real victim.
The 42-year-old Clay was convicted Sept. 3 of aggravated arson. The four-year prison sentence will be added to a five-year term he is serving for sexual battery.
Clay coached at Troy Christian School north of Dayton.