The angry cross of hate still burns bright for some people — even in these times.
In this instance, four Arkansas men this week were given sentences in federal court in Hot Springs, Ark., ranging from one to two years in prison for trying burn a cross to drive off a woman and her children for associating with African-Americans, authorities announced Tuesday.
The woman is white and her three children — ages 5, 19 months and 4 months at the time of the incident in June 2008 — were fathered by an African American male, according to a government sentencing memorandum.
“The defendants in this case threatened a young family with violence simply because they associated with persons of another race. Threats of this kind have no place in this country, but they are regrettably all too common,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.
Authorities said Jacob Wingo,20, was sentenced to two years in prison; Clayton Morrison,29, got 15 months, Darren McKim,38, got 18 months; and Richard Robins, 42, got one year.
A fifth defendant, Dustin Nix, 21, was sentenced last month to one year and one day in prison.
Authorities said that Wingo admitted building a cross and taking it to the victims’ home in Donaldson, Ark and trying to ignite it in the yard while the family was home, a court document said. Morrison admitted helping build the cross and accompanying Wingo and Nix to the the home to burn it. The others also admitted playing some role in intimidating the family.