According to WLOX News, 24-year-old Axel Cox was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release following the 2020 hate crime.
Cox was in a dispute with the family on December 3, 2020, when he formed a cross with two pieces of wood, placed it in his front yard, doused it in oil, and set it on fire all while spewing threats and racial slurs at his Black neighbors. The 24-year-old admitted to burning the cross because of the race of his neighbors, who he intended to scare out of the neighborhood.
According to federal court documents, Cox's actions violated the Fair Housing Act.
“Mr. Axel Cox sought to intimidate members of the community through his intimidating threats,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the FBI Jackson Field Office. “The FBI prioritizes the protection of civil rights to ensure citizens remain safe without fear of any harm. We remain committed to tirelessly thwarting the nefarious actions of those, like Mr. Cox, who intended to impact fear upon citizens based on biases.”
“No one should endure such hatred and intimidation because of the color of his skin,” said U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi. “This defendant has been held accountable. His sentence should permeate among his kind and declare that Mississippi and the Department of Justice will not tolerate this hateful behavior.
In addition to his sentence, Cox was ordered to pay $7,810 in restitution.