A Seminary man who recruited another local resident to burn a cross to frighten and intimidate black residents in their small town was sentenced Tuesday to serve 11 years on federal charges.
Louie Bernard Revette, 38, was sentenced by Judge Keith Starrett of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi for his commission of a cross-burning on Oct. 24, 2017, in Seminary.
Revette had pleaded guilty on Apr. 12 to interference with housing rights, a federal civil rights violation and using fire to commit a federal felony.
Along with co-conspirator Graham Williamson, whom he recruited, Revette built and burned a wooden cross near the home of a juvenile victim who lived in a predominantly African-American residential area of Seminary.
Revette burned the cross to threaten, frighten, and intimidate the youth and other African-American residents because of their race and color, and because they lived in and occupied residences in that area of Seminary.
Williamson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg to interfering with housing rights and conspiring to use fire to commit a felony. Williamson faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced Nov. 5.
“The defendant terrorized members of a community simply because of their race and where they lived,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate these acts of hate, and we will continue to prosecute hate crimes like these to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Those who instill fear and terror into our neighbors and our fellow citizens because of the color of their skin will face the full weight and force of the law from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi. “There is absolutely no place in our society or our country for this type of behavior, and we will do all that we can to prevent these racist acts and bring to justice those who are intent on committing these crimes.”
“All Mississippians have the right to feel safe in their communities, but crimes like these only tear open wounds that are still healing,” said Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “The FBI and our partners will not tolerate crimes motivated by hate, and we will vigorously pursue those that commit them.”
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson Field Office, including the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the Jackson Public Corruption Task Force. Special Litigation Counsel Julia Gegenheimer of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Candace Mayberry of the Southern District of Mississippi prosecuted the case.