WASHINGTON - Kyle Milbourn of Muncie, Ind., was sentenced by a federal judge today for a hate crime stemming from a cross burning last year that was directed at a woman and her three biracial children, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Timothy Morrison.
Milbourn was convicted by a jury in March 2008, of one count of interfering with the housing rights of another person; one count of conspiring to interfere with civil rights; one count of using fire during the commission of a felony; and one count of tampering with a witness. He was sentenced to 121 months on all four counts combined.
According to testimony at trial, on or about March 6, 2006, Milbourn and another individual, who previously pleaded guilty, built an eight-foot wooden cross, erected it in front of the victims’ home, doused it with gasoline and set it on fire. Milbourn did this with the intent to interfere with the victims’ rights under the Fair Housing Act. In an attempt to thwart the FBI’s investigation into the cross burning, Milbourn, in November 2007, tried to prevent a witness from speaking to FBI agents.
"It is deeply disturbing that, in this day and age, circumstances still require us to prosecute cases that involve burning an eight-foot wooden cross in front of the home of a bi-racial family," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Becker. "The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute anyone who engages in cross-burning."
"No one should have to suffer the terror and intimidation of a cross-burning," said U.S. Attorney Morrison. "Civil rights enforcement remains a top priority of the Department of Justice."
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and resulted from an investigation conducted by FBI Special Agent Charlie Rownd of the Muncie Field Office.