TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Two Florida men have been sentenced to federal prison for setting a wooden cross on fire in an interracial couple’s yard.
A U.S. Department of Justice news release says 46-year-old Thomas Sigler was sentenced Tuesday to two years and nine months, and 56-year-old William Dennis received one year and nine months. They had both previously pleaded guilty to civil rights violations.
Officials say Sigler, Dennis and Pascual Pietri were living in a largely white community in Pasco County, near Tampa, when a white woman and a black man moved into the neighborhood. On Halloween 2012, the men decided to burn a cross in the couple’s yard. Cross-burning has historically been used by hate groups to intimidate black people.
Pietri was sentenced in 2016 to three years and one month behind bars.