Gulfport man charged with burning cross to intimidate Black neighbors

Axel Cox, 23, of Gulfport is charged with hate crime and arson violations for burning a cross...
Axel Cox, 23, of Gulfport is charged with hate crime and arson violations for burning a cross in his own front yard to threaten and intimidate a Black family that lived next door.(Harrison County Sheriff's Dept.)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:32 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A 23-year-old Gulfport man is charged with hate crime and arson violations for burning a cross in his own front yard. Investigators say Axel Cox was trying to threaten and intimidate a Black family that lived next door.

The federal indictment says the Dec. 3, 2020 cross burning was specifically because of the victims’ race. And that Cox also used threatening and racially derogatory remarks toward his Black neighbors.

Cox is charged with one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for interfering with the victims’ housing rights and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for using fire to commit a federal felony. Cox also faces a fine of up to $250,000 with respect to each charge.

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