News and Press Releases

SNOHOMISH MAN SENTENCED IN CROSS BURNING INCIDENT
Lied to a Federal Grand Jury about July 2004 Cross Burning in Edmonds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2006

JAYSON RUSSELL, 19, of Snohomish, 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. RUSSELL lied to the Grand Jury about participating in a cross burning in the yard of an Edmonds, Washington family in July, 2004. In sentencing RUSSELL, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour told the defendant, “cross burning is evil, intolerable and cannot be permitted."

According to court records, a different defendant, Collin 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. RUSSELL, and JOSEPH LIN, 19, of Lynnwood, Washington pleaded guilty to Making a False Declaration Before a Grand Jury. RUSSELL pleaded guilty on February 1, 2006 and LIN entered his guilty plea on December 13, 2005.

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.

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 “stark reminder 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.

Collin Patrick Sargent was sentenced in February 2006 to three years of probation, 90 days of electronic home detention, and 200 hours of community service, for Conspiring to Violate Others Civil Rights.

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.

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