Two Pasco County men charged with cross burning

Posted at 12:19 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 13:41:29-04

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted two Pasco County men with the burning of a cross in the front yard of an interracial couple who were their neighbors.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III has announced the unsealing of an indictment charging William A. Dennis, 55, of Spring Hill, and Thomas Herris Sigler III, 45, of Land O' Lakes, with conspiracy to interfere with an interracial couple's enjoyment of their constitutionally protected housing right

In 2012 Dennis and Sigler were living on Seward Drive in Port Richey when an interracial couple moved in next door to the house where Sigler lived.

According to the indictment, the men repeatedly made racial slurs and racially derogatory statements to the African- American man. It led to verbal and physical threats.

On Oct. 31, 2012, Dennis and Sigler attended a party at a neighbor's house. The men and several other Seward Drive residents conspired to burn a cross in the front yard of the African-American man's house to intimidate him.

A cross was built, placed against the victims' mailbox and lit on fire.

The names of the victims were not released.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josephine W. Thomas and Simon A. Gaugush will lead the prosecution team.