Mississippi man sentenced to 11 years for crossburning

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Louie Bernard Revette, 38, of Collins, Miss., will serve 11 years behind bars for a crossburning on Oct. 24, 2017, in Seminary, Miss.

Revette pled guilty April 12 to one count of interference with housing rights, a federal civil rights violation, and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony. Revette, along with a co-conspirator whom he recruited, built and burned a wooden cross near the home of a juvenile victim, M.H., who lived in a predominantly African-American residential area of Seminary. He burned the cross to threaten, frighten, and intimidate M.H. and other African-American residents because of their race and color, and because they lived in and occupied residences in that area of Seminary.

Louis Revette. Photo from his Facebook page.

“The defendant terrorized members of a community simply because of their race and where they lived,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, in a statement. “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,” added 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.”

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, who sentenced Revette, reportedly said in court on Tuesday that “cross burning is a big deal.” Having grown up in southern Mississippi, Starrett said he was “fully aware of the fear and intimidation elicited by cross burnings and church fires.”

“It’s not an act of courage to come in the night and try to intimidate somebody,” Starrett said.