HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A second man who pleaded guilty to participating in a cross burning in a predominantly African American neighborhood in Mississippi has been sentenced to prison.
A federal judge sentenced Graham Williamson, 38, to serve three years in prison on Tuesday. Williamson pleaded guilty to one count of interference with housing rights, a federal civil rights violation, and one count of conspiring to use fire to commit a felony on Aug. 5, 2019.
According to prosecutors, Williamson conspired with Louie Bernard Revette to build and burn a wooden cross in Seminary, Miss. near the home of an African American juvenile on Oct. 24, 2017.
The pair burned the cross in the Keys Hill community in an attempt to threaten, frighten and intimidate the juvenile and other residents in the area because of their race, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The defendant invoked a terrifying symbol of racial violence to threaten and intimidate the victims for no other reason than their race and where they lived,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Hate crimes like this contravene our society’s well-established principles of equality and freedom from race-based intimidation, and the Department of Justice will continue to pursue and prosecute such crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Those who terrorize our people and commit crimes based on the color of someone’s skin will receive swift and certain prosecution from this office,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to do all that we can to prevent such racist crimes so that all our people can live in peace and without fear.”
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson Field Office, including the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Jackson Public Corruption Task Force.