A white man in Indiana has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison after he plead guilty to racist harassment and intimidation toward his Black neighbor last summer.
On Friday (June 18), Shepherd Hoehn was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson to 46 months in prison for making racially-motivated threats to intimidate and interfere with his neighbor and unlawfully possessing firearms. The former crime violates the criminal provision of the Fair Housing Act.
According to WRTV, the 51-year-old Indianapolis man was charged last year after burning a cross, displaying a swastika and a sign with numerous racial slurs toward his neighbor’s property. He also threw eggs at the neighbor’s house and repeatedly played the song “Dixie.”
The harassment stemmed from his neighbors removing a tree on their property, court documents reveal.
Hoehn admitted to the FBI he was enraged over the tree removal and wanted to make his neighbors “miserable,” WRTV reports.
In February, Hoehn pled guilty to all acts of harassment.
“Every person in the United States has the right to live in their home free from the threat of violence based on race,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, stated, according to WRTV. “The federal government will not tolerate, and will prosecute to the fullest extent the law allows, the sort of race-based threat that this defendant engaged in. We will continue fighting against racially motivated conduct, too often used to drive people from their homes and their communities.”
“Mr. Hoehn was held responsible for his vile conduct,” Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress, of the Southern District of Indiana, said. “We are a diverse nation, bound together by shared values and beliefs. We are also a nation of laws. Those like Mr. Hoehn who would betray our shared values and beliefs through behavior such as this rightly suffer the penalties our laws prescribe.”
In addition to prison time, Hoehn will have three years of supervised release.