In the early morning hours on March 1, Cameron Mayfield allegedly burned one of his neighbors' gay pride flags. Mayfield had a preliminary hearing in a Douglas County court room on Wednesday morning.
During the hearing, James Martin Davis, Mayfield's defense attorney, asked that the charges be reduced from a felony to misdemeanor arson.
He argued his client did not know the victims were a gay couple. He also argued that Mayfield did not understand that a rainbow flag symbolized the gay community.
The prosecution objected to the request to lower the charges, stating that a rainbow flag has represented the gay community for 40 years.
The judge rejected Davis' request. She said the hearing is not to prove innocence or guilt but rather to prove probable cause to the crime and that the prosecution had done just that.
After leaving the courtroom Mayfield spoke to WOWT 6 News and said "it was a prank" while offering an apology to his neighbors.
Mayfield will now face a felony arson charge and hate crime in a Douglas county court room at a later date.
Chad Simmons, a burglary detective with the Omaha Police Department, was the one and only prosecution witness during the hearing.
Simmons testified that Mayfield called his father approximately three hours after the alleged crime while he was being detained. His father asked him if he burned the flag. Cameron told him that he had. His father then instructed Cameron to tell the police there was no intent of hate.
Earlier in the evening, Mr. Mayfield told a sergeant investigating the crime at his house that he had several conversations with his son about the flag and what it meant.
He also told detectives that he raised his son to be "tolerant." He was brought up this way in part because Cameron has two mentally challenged siblings.
Simmons also testified that the Mayfield family had a sign in their front yard approximately six months prior to the crime that read "Protect Traditional Marriage."