Utah Man Charged with Federal Hate Crime for Threatening Interracial Family
SALT LAKE CITY - The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah and the Department of Justice announced Monday that an information has been filed charging Robert Keller, 70, with interfering with the housing rights of three members of an interracial family because of the family members’ races and because the family members were living in Hurricane, Utah.
Keller has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of criminal interference with a right to fair housing. More specifically, the information alleges that Keller wrote a note to two Caucasian family members of an interracial family threatening to kill them if they did not make their African-American family member leave their home and the community. The first count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the housing rights of the Caucasian residents to associate in their home with their African-American family member, and the second count alleges that Keller’s threats interfered with the African-American resident’s right to occupy the home.
A summons will be issued to Keller to appear in federal court. If convicted, Keller faces a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison on each count.
This case is being investigated by the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI in cooperation with the Hurricane City Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Saeed Mody of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda for the District of Utah.
An information is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.