Brandon Lecroy tried to contact a South Carolina branch of the Ku Klux Klan, but was busted by an undercover FBI agent.
“It’s one thing to think these thoughts, but it’s a crime to undertake to do harm to another,” intoned U.S. Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks before passing sentence on Brandon Lecroy, 26, of Greenwood County.
Lecroy, a white man from South Carolina was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Thursday for attempting to hire a the Ku Klux Klan to kill his black neighbor, The Hill reports.
An undercover FBI agent had posed as a KKK member, who ended up undoing Lecroy's plot as he arrested him last year. The neighbor, identified by the initial “FJ,” would allegedly come onto Lecroy’s property in Greenwood County, according to his attorney, Erica Soderdahl.
The Charlotte Observer reported that the agent, from Lexington County, was working with a domestic terrorism task force made up of FBI, state and local law enforcement officers. He had made headlines when he had arrested Lecroy last year, coming as it did amind the reports of rising incidents of racially-motivated attacks on the minorities.
A white man who tried to hire a hit man from a South Carolina branch of the Ku Klux Klan to kill a black neighbor was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Thursday. https://t.co/0cjtV1y88e— Barry Bradford (@BarryMotivates) 12 April 2019
The Hill reports that Lecroy was frustrated as the neighbor would keep picking fights and ask for food or use the phone. Attempts to call the police on his neighbor were unsuccessful, Soderdahl said.
“But FJ kept coming back,” Soderdahl said. “It’s not about an overriding feeling toward a race — it’s about one individual.”
NEW: Man sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to hire the KKK to kill black neighbor https://t.co/46q0MA3R5B— LIVE Breaking News (@NewsBreaking) 11 April 2019
Lecroy’s defense attorney claimed that he researched out to a local KKK chapter to help when police did not intervene.
“Brandon called the KKK because who else was he going to call?” Soderdahl said. “It had nothing to do with the color of his skin.”
This is 25 year old Brandon Cory Lecroy. He attempted to hire a hit man to kill his black neighbor. Yes, we said 25.— Black News Alerts (@blacknewsalerts) 10 May 2018
Read more: https://t.co/nBFAwTWIgs#blacknewsalerts #southcarolina #greenville #whitesupremacist #KKK #FBI #murder #blackmen pic.twitter.com/v0coTshDtT
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Watkins argued in court that the neighbor was targetted specifically because of his race.
“Your honor, the fact that he reached out to the KKK — this is not a low-functioning individual,” Watkins said. “It’s telling that to get a black person eliminated, he turned to the KKK.”
“He didn’t call a biker gang,” fed prosecutor says. SC white man who tried to hire a KKK hit man to kill black neighbor gets 10 yearshttps://t.co/GTji0O8mFM— John Monk (@jmonkatthestate) 11 April 2019
At the same time, reports say that there is more to this motive of hiring the hitman. Lecroy used racist language and referred to violent KKK symbols in secretly- recorded audio tapes with law enforcement. Watkins said. Lecroy even suggested that the undercover agent he was speaking with use a flaming cross, the prosecutor added.
Trump voters out of control— John P. (@235john) 11 April 2019
“He doesn’t call a biker gang,” Watkins told the judge. “What he had in mind for his neighbor was very race-specific. ... He targeted him [FJ] because of his race.”
The plot was broken when Lecroy went online and looked up the phone number to a local KKK chapter. That's when the FBI agent, who was posing as a KKK hitman named 'Mark', was able to stop him.
This jackass is so dumb!— Meatblanket (@MeatBlankett) 11 April 2019
He was excited to get sentenced to prison because he heard there were 'a lot of black people just hanging around'
Lecroy was sentenced in a federal court, partially because he used a cellphone — which is used in interstate commerce — to try and arrange the hit.
U.S. Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks found that the offense qualified as a federal hate crime, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. She would have given Lecroy the same prison sentence because of the seriousness of the crime.