Alabama Man Pleads Guilty in Cross Burning

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors in Montgomery say a Dothan man has pleaded guilty to burning a cross at the entrance of an African-American neighborhood in Ozark.

Authorities said Monday that 24-year-old Thomas Windell Smith pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to violate housing rights.

Prosecutors say Smith and a co-conspirator were trying to intimidate the neighborhood's African-American residents when they burned the cross on May 8, 2009.

Authorities say the wooden cross was approximately 6-feet-tall. Smith and his accomplice wrapped it in cloth and doused it in fuel before lighting it on fire.

Prosecutors say Smith faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing date hasn't been set.

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