AUSTIN (KXAN) — The San Marcos man accused of intentionally starting a fire at an Austin synagogue on Halloween 2021 plead guilty in federal court Thursday afternoon.

Franklin Barrett Sechriest, 20, was indicted on three counts related to the arson investigation at Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue. He pleaded guilty to two charges — damage to religious property and arson. Another charge was dismissed.

In Thursday’s hearing, Sechriest could be seen crying at times and apologizing to his parents in the front row of the courtroom.

An affidavit reported surveillance cameras filmed Sechriest with a gas can in his hand. Agents also found glass bottles, lighter fluid, lighter and waterproof matches in his car.

On the day of the fire, AFD estimated it caused $25,000 in damage, but the synagogue told KXAN Thursday it was closer to $400,000. Congregants had raised at least $500,000 for repairs by late December of 2021.

Information from the Department of Justice said Sechriest could face up to 30 years in prison for the damage to religious property charge, 20 years for the arson charge, and a mandatory 10-year sentence to run concurrently with any other sentence for the use of fire charge.

At the arraignment, the presiding judge said Sechriest’s plea agreement states that he may be sentenced to no greater than 20 years for each charge.

Members of Congregation Beth Israel attended the day’s hearing. Board president Lori Adelman said emotions were mixed going into the hearing.

“Each one of us have been dealing with this tragedy in our own way and there’s been a lot of discussion about what is justice,” Adelman said.

Adelman gave this statement on behalf of the temple’s board after Sechriest’s arraignment.

“This plea agreement means the defendant admitted his guilt in open court and allows us to begin to heal without the trauma of being put through what would most likely be a difficult trial,” Adelman said.

Sechriest now waits to be sentenced, and the sentencing was set for June 23. Sechriest faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the United States Department of Justice.

His lawyer asked that he be held in Bastrop County where he has been in custody until he is sentenced.