EUGENE — The man who was arrested in connection with a series of attacks on St. Mary Parish here pleaded guilty recently to a number of charges.

Benjamin Jaramillo Hernandez, 69, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to a federal hate crime and illegal possession of ammunition after a series of threatening and violent acts directed at the parish.

Hernandez targeted St. Mary in September, discharging pepper spray around the church and then leaving a threatening note with hollow point bullets through the mail slot.

He was obviously unstable, Father Ron Nelson, pastor at the Eugene parish, told the Sentinel in November.

“Hate crime laws protect fundamental American values including the free expression of religion. Today’s guilty plea reaffirms the basic principle that no one should live in fear because of their faith,” Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said in a statement to the press.

Hernandez was arrested Sep. 18 and charged with second-degree intimidation, second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of second-degree criminal trespass. During a search of Hernandez, police found a partially empty can of pepper spray, three shotgun shells and 13 hollow point bullets.

The Eugene man also was charged by criminal information with one count of obstruction of persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs and felon in possession of ammunition. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the hate crime conviction and 10 years in prison for unlawful possession of ammunition. He’ll be sentenced May 22.