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Indiana man accused of burning cross near Black neighbor’s home charged with hate crime

Written by on August 6, 2020

An Indiana man accused of trying to intimidate his Black neighbor, including an instance in which he burned a cross near the neighbor’s house, was charged in federal court Thursday with a hate crime.

Shepherd Hoehn, 50, is charged with making threats to with his African American neighbor in Lawrence because of the neighbor’s race and two counts of unlawfully possessing firearms, the Justice Department said in a news release.

According to a criminal complaint, Hoehn had grown angry when a construction crew began removing a tree from his neighbor’s property in mid-June.

Shepherd Hoehn was reportedly angry that his neighbor was removing a tree front his property. 

Shepherd Hoehn was reportedly angry that his neighbor was removing a tree front his property.  (nccourts.gov)

Hoehn allegedly tried to intimidate and interfere with his neighbor and the construction workers by burning a cross and displaying a swastika above the fence line facing the property.

Next to the swastika, he allegedly displayed a large sign of racist slurs and a machete, played the song “Dixie,” on repeat, and threw eggs at his neighbor’s house.

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The FBI executed a federal search warrant at Hoehn’s Lawrence home in early July. Authorities said the search yielded several firearms and drug paraphernalia. FBI agents also discovered that Hoehn was a fugitive from a case in Missouri and unable to lawfully own guns.

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If convicted, Hoehn faces a maximum of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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