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Mississippi man pleads guilty to inciting violence against his black neighbors by burning a cross

Racist Mississippi man, 24, pleads guilty to federal charges after burning a cross in his front yard to intimidate his black neighbors

  • Axel Cox gathered supplies and assembled a wooden cross in his front yard
  • He propped it up so his black neighbors could see it before setting it on fire
  • Cox faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000

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A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to a hate crime in federal court after he burned a cross in his front yard to intimidate his black neighbors.

Axel Cox, 24, of Gulfport, admitted to using “racially derogatory” terms against the black family and threatening them simply for moving in next door to him.

Cox gathered supplies from his residence, placed a wooden cross in his front yard, and set it up for his black neighbors to see, before dousing the cross with engine oil and setting it on fire.

He later admitted that he burned the cross because of the victims’ race. Cox faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the crime.

Axel Cox, 24, Pleaded Guilty To Hate Crimes In Federal Court After Burning A Cross In His Front Yard To Intimidate His Black Neighbors

Axel Cox, 24, pleaded guilty to hate crimes in federal court after burning a cross in his front yard to intimidate his black neighbors

“Burning a cross evokes the long and painful history, particularly in Mississippi, of harassment and threats of physical violence against black people,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“The Justice Department will continue to prosecute those who use racially motivated violence to force people from their homes or communities.”

“The collaboration between the Gulfport Police Department, the FBI, the Civil Rights Division and our office has brought this defendant to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca of the Southern District of Mississippi.

“We will continue to work with and for the good people of Mississippi to eradicate such racial harassment.”

Cox signed a plea deal Thursday after admitting he had violated the Fair Housing Act, which was designed to protect people from discrimination, authorities said Friday.

His sentencing is scheduled for March 9, 2023.

In 2018, Graham Williamson, 38, and Louie Bernard Revette, 37, were also convicted under the same law by U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg for burning a cross outside a black family’s home made from household items.

The practice has historically been associated with the Klu Klux Klan, which used cross-burning as an intimidation tactic. The KKK last held a cross-burning ceremony in Cedar Town, Mississippi, in 2016.

Hate crimes against black Americans are up 46% from 2019 to 2020, according to The New York Times.

Cox, Pictured, Collected Supplies From His Residence, Placed A Wooden Cross In His Front Yard And Set It Up For His Black Neighbors To See, Before Dousing The Cross With Engine Oil And Setting It On Fire

Cox, Pictured, Collected Supplies From His Residence, Placed A Wooden Cross In His Front Yard And Set It Up For His Black Neighbors To See, Before Dousing The Cross With Engine Oil And Setting It On Fire

Cox, pictured, collected supplies from his residence, placed a wooden cross in his front yard and set it up for his black neighbors to see, before dousing the cross with engine oil and setting it on fire

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Jacky

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