An ancient form of racial prejudice and intimidation has reared its head in Mississippi where the U.S. Justice Department says 23 year old Axel Cox set a cross on fire in his own front yard to scare a Black neighbor.
Cox is being charged with two felony hate crimes in connection with the event that took place two years ago.
According to court documents, Cox is charged with arson for burning the cross, a crime that could earn him 10 years in Federal prison, and with using fire to commit a Federal crime which could get him an additional 10 years plus a quarter of a million dollar fine.
A conviction would mean he could spend 20 years in prison because by law, the two 10 year sentences would have to be served consecutively.
They say he also used racial slurs and racially derogatory remarks towards his Black neighbors.