FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
TWO MEN SENTENCED FOR CRIMINAL INTERFERENCE
WITH HOUSING RIGHTS
WASHINGTON, DC - The Justice Department today announced the sentencing of two North Carolina men convicted of conspiring to drive an African-American family out of an all-white neighborhood.
Chase Hobbs and Jeremy Kratzer were each sentenced to 21 months incarceration by Judge James C. Fox in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Both were previously found guilty by a jury of conspiring to interfere with the housing rights of Deborah Edwards and her children.
“These deplorable and cowardly acts cannot be tolerated,” said Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “All American families have the right to live where they choose, undisturbed by intimidation and racist threats.”
According to the evidence introduced to the jury, the Edwards family moved to the previously all-white Nine Mile neighborhood of Richlands, North Carolina in March of 1999. Immediately thereafter, they were the victims of a series of racially harassing incidents: a cross was burned on their property, a noose was hung from their doorknob, and a dead raccoon was thrown on their front yard.
Two other coconspirators pleaded guilty prior to trial regarding their roles in the conspiracy. A fifth defendant, Chance Hobbs, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of this matter.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this matter, with the assistance of the Onslow County Sheriff=s Office. The Criminal Section of the Justice Department=s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney=s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.