News and Press Releases

Lied to a Federal Grand Jury about July 2004 Cross Burning in Edmonds

April 7, 2006

JOSEPH LIN, 19, of Lynnwood, Washington was sentenced today to three months of incarceration, 90 days of home detention and three years of probation for Making a False Declaration before a Federal Grand Jury. LIN lied to the Grand Jury about participating in a cross burning in the yard of an Edmonds, Washington family in July, 2004. In sentencing LIN, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour told the defendant, “It saddens me that someone as bright and with as much promise as you, would make such a bad decision.”

According to court records, a different defendant, Colin Patrick Sargent, had a falling out with a young man who lived at the Edmonds home. Another man, a juvenile, suggested the cross burning, and some six other young men assisted in the cross burning. The juvenile was prosecuted in state court. LIN and JAYSON RUSSELL, 19, of Snohomish, Washington pleaded guilty to Making a False Declaration Before a Grand Jury. LIN entered his guilty plea on December 13, 2005 and RUSSELL pleaded guilty on February 1, 2006.

According to the plea agreement, the men provided false testimony in October, 2004, indicating that they did not participate in the cross burning. LIN claimed he did not know anything about the cross burning until a week after it happened. In fact, both men were present during the cross burning and RUSSELL attempted to call the victim, and later called the victim’s girlfriend, to report the cross burning. RUSSELL is scheduled to be sentenced June 2, 2006.

In asking the court to impose some period of incarceration Assistant United States Attorney Bruce Miyake told the court that the cross burning was far more than a “prank” as the young men tried to claim. Miyake called it a “universal symbol of racial hatred” that is disturbing to the larger community and especially people of color. Miyake said lying to the grand jury about the crime goes to the very foundation of our criminal justice system. Judge Coughenour agreed saying this case is the subject of a great deal of discussion amongst LIN’s peers. “I think the message needs to be conveyed that these actions have consequences,” the Judge said.

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes remains a top priority of the Justice Department. The Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office jointly prosecuted the case.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Justice 101
Community Outreach

Engaging in outreach in order to prevent crime, respond to community needs, and promote good citizenship.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America

Oficinas de los Fiscales de Estados Unidos En Español
Stay Connected with Twitter