Graham Williamson and another man, Louie Bernard Revette, carried out several racially-motivated cross burnings in a primarily black residential area in Seminary, Mississippi, on October 24, 2017.
A white man from Mississippi pleaded guilty in federal court for burning crosses in an attempt to instill fear in back families in a small town. According to a release by the United States Department of Justice, Graham Williamson admitted to his malicious acts on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg, which included conspiring to use fire to commit a felony as well as interfering with housing rights.
White Man Pleads Guilty to Burning Cross in Mississippi Town: Graham Williamson admitted that he and another man burned the cross to frighten and intimidate African American residents in Seminary, Mississippi, in October 2017. https://t.co/x72iffCUeZ TheResistance pic.twitter.com/MmbH03r3c0— Patrick (@cahulaan) August 7, 2019
Williamson, 38, confirmed that he and another man, Louie Bernard Revette, carried out several racially-motivated cross burnings in a primarily black residential area in Seminary, Mississippi, on October 24, 2017. Williamson said that the cross was constructed using materials from and around his accomplice Revette's home. The pair then set it on fire close to the homes of African Americans in the area, which included the home of a juvenile victim.
The accused further admitted that he was aware of the historically racist practice that was used by Klu Klux Klan members to intimidate African-Americans. Williamson further confirmed that he executed the cross burning as a way to 'threaten, frighten and intimidate' local residents. His accomplice, Revettem also pleaded guilty to similar charges in April and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5. Williamson is set to be arraigned on November 5 and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Mike Hurst, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, released a statement which read: "Those who commit criminal acts based on race to intimidate and scare our fellow citizens will face swift and certain justice from this U.S. attorney's office. These types of hateful actions have no place in our communities, and we will continue to fight for and uphold the civil rights of all throughout our state."
Mississippi Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime for Crossburning: Graham Williamson of Mississippi pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the commission of a crossburning on Oct. 24, 2017, in Seminary, Mississippi. https://t.co/8Zc8k1fE0E— FBI Jackson (@FBIJackson) August 7, 2019
The United States Department of Justice was also involved in the prosecution of Graham Williamson. As per a statement released by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division: "The defendant used a violent symbol of racial intimidation to threaten these victims and inspire fear, while they resided in the security of their own homes. The Department of Justice does not tolerate these hateful and historically egregious acts, and will continue to vigorously prosecute criminals who violate the civil rights of peaceful community members."
Seminary is a town of about 300 people, 70 miles southeast of Jackson.