WASHINGTON – James Bradley Branscum, Tony Branscum, both of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee of Batesville, Ark., were indicted this week by a federal grand jury on charges related to their roles in burning a cross in the yard of an African-American resident in Salado on Aug. 28, 2010.
In the three-count indictment, the three were charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another, one count of interfering with the housing rights of another and one count of using fire in the commission of a felony.
If convicted, the three face a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the FBI with cooperation from Independence County, Ark., Sheriff Alan Cockrill and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Independence County Sheriff‘s Office. The case will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Cindy Chung from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White from the U.S. Attorney ’ s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.