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Man, 22, sentenced in hate crimes

May 11, 2002 Saturday

A member of a group that torched the home of a Manitowoc family because of their Hmong heritage was sentenced Friday to 18 years and nine months in a federal prison.

Michael Nicholson, 22, of Manitowoc, was one of six adults convicted of hate crimes in connection with the July 1998 arson and with an attempted drive-by shooting earlier that month.

At an earlier court hearing, another defendant, Andrew J. Franz, 23, of Manitowoc, testified that the men did not know their victims. Rather, they selected Hmong as targets because they wanted to "send a message" to Asian men in the community to leave them alone. Franz was sentenced in February to 19 years and nine months in prison.

Four other men also have been convicted of federal hate crimes and sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to 10 years.