AP NEWS

Man charged in cross burning near black residents’ home

July 1, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A white man faces federal charges in a 2017 cross burning outside the home of African American residents in a small Mississippi town.

Court documents show Graham Williamson is charged with intimidating and interfering with fair housing and conspiring to use fire or explosives to commit a felony.

The U.S. attorney for south Mississippi filed an information June 24, saying on Oct. 24, 2017, Williamson and another man built a wooden cross and burned it “with the intention of intimidating and frightening” black residents of Seminary. The town has about 300 residents and is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Jackson.

An information is similar to an indictment but is often filed when a person facing charges waives the right to have a grand jury consider a case.

Court records Monday didn’t list an attorney for Williamson, and a spokeswoman from the U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a message asking whether Williamson has legal representation.

Seminary is in Covington County, which is about 62% white and 32% black, according to the Census Bureau. Mississippi’s population is about 59% white and 38% black.

In April, Louie Bernard Revette, 37, pleaded guilty in the same cross burning case, to one count each of interfering with housing rights and using fire to commit a felony. Revette’s sentencing is set for Sept. 5 in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of $500,000.

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