Virginia man pleads responsible in burning of cross on garden of youngster who organized civil rights protest | Crime & Courts

A Marion man pleaded guilty to burning a cross in the courtyard of a black neighbor last year, US prosecutors said.

James Brown, 41, pleaded guilty to using violence or the threat of violence to compromise federal housing rights based on the victim’s race of colors. Brown burned a cross in the front yard of his neighbor’s house on June 14, 2020. One of the family members had organized a civil rights protest in Marion the day before.

Brown admitted burning the cross in front of two witnesses and was also known to use racist epithets when referring to the black family, prosecutors said.

“I did it,” Brown told two witnesses, according to FBI special agent Chad Potter.

Brown lived on Pearl Avenue in Marion near the property where a cross in flames was found on June 14, 2020. According to an affidavit filed in the US District Court in Abingdon, pieces of wood put together to look like a cross had been placed in a burning barrel.

Potter spoke to several witnesses in the days following the fire that took place at the home of teenager Travon Brown, who was leading a Black Lives Matter rally in Marion. The authorities note that the two people are not related.

During a preliminary hearing, Potter said James Brown, who had also been watched by nearby witnesses, returned home after the fire. There two men said he admitted burning the cross, Potter said.

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