Two Puerto Rican Men Sentenced for Federal Hate Crime Against a Latina Transgender Woman and Obstruction of Justice Charges
Billie Ray Pratt, age 24, of Halethorpe, Md., pleaded guilty today to his involvement in hanging a raccoon on the porch of a family from Africa.
According to his plea agreement, in April 2010 Pratt, Joshua Wall and three other co-conspirators agreed on a plan to hang a dead raccoon from a noose on the porch of an African family to frighten them and to interfere with their housing rights. Pratt claimed that two of his co-conspirators drove around until they found a dead raccoon and made the noose to put around the raccoon’s neck. Wall and a co-conspirator hung the raccoon on the porch of the home in the middle of the night while Pratt acted as a look-out.
“The hanging of a noose is a powerful symbol of hate that has no place in our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to prosecute acts such as this one to the fullest extent of the law.”
The investigation remains is ongoing.
Pratt faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to deprive a person of civil rights. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Aug. 17, 2012.
Joshua Wall, age 20, of Essex, Md., pleaded guilty on March 5, 2012 to his involvement in the conspiracy and faces the same maximum penalty at his sentencing scheduled for Aug. 17, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney AeJean Cha of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham, who are prosecuting the case.