WASHINGTON – Joshua James Moro, 23, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for participating in a civil rights conspiracy in connection with an October 2008 cross-burning in Athens, La., near the home of an interracial couple. Moro was arrested today following the return of the indictment on April 28, 2010.
Moro was charged with one count of conspiring to interfere with another person’s civil rights. If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
Moro’s co-conspirator and cousin, Daniel Earl Danforth, was convicted this past January for conspiring to burn a cross, using fire to commit a federal felony and obstruction of justice charges stemming from this same cross-burning. According to the evidence at Danforth’s trial, on or about Oct. 23, 2008, Moro agreed to help Danforth build, erect and burn a cross near the homes of their cousin, who lived with an African-American man and an 11-year-old son, and other relatives who were believed to approve of the interracial relationship. Specifically, Moro agreed to get diesel fuel for Danforth to use to burn the cross. The evidence at Danforth’s trial established that as part of the conspiracy, Danforth and others built a cross out of small pine trees and transported the cross to an area adjacent to the victims’ homes, where they set it on fire in order to intimidate the interracial couple.
This case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary J. Mudrick for the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Erin Aslan from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.