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Muncie, Indiana, Man Convicted of Federal Civil Rights Violations After Burning Cross

WASHINGTON - Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker and Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Timothy Morrison announced today that Kyle Milbourn of Muncie, Ind., was convicted by a federal jury for a hate crime stemming from a cross-burning last year that was directed at a woman and her three biracial children.

Milbourn was convicted of one count of interfering with the housing rights of another person, one count of conspiring to interfere with civil rights, one count of using fire during the commission of a felony, and one count of witness tampering. Milbourn faces a maximum punishment of 40 years of imprisonment and a $1 million fine.

According to the testimony at trial, on or about March 6, 2006, Milbourn and another individual – who previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison – built an eight-foot wooden cross, erected it in front of the victims’ home, doused it with gasoline, and set it on fire. Milbourn and his co-conspirator took pictures of themselves with the burning cross. Milbourn did this with the intent to interfere with the victims’ rights under the Fair Housing Act.

“The Department continues to commit its resources to prosecute hate crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison. “These cases can be difficult, but serve to reaffirm our resolve to pursue them.”

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and resulted from an investigation conducted by FBI Special Agent Charlie Rownd of the Muncie Field Office.