• Police: 3 men arrested after cross burned in front of home

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. - Three Richmond County men are in jail on charges they lit a cross in front of a home owned by an African-American family.

    Authorities arrested Ethan Boyette, William Shepard and Ben Benson on Sunday in what they called a "racially-motivated crime."

    The mother of the family told Channel 9 she woke up early Saturday morning when she heard something in her front yard.

    "They stuck a cross down in there, had it burning," she told Eyewitness News, showing the hole where the homemade cross was.

    "I got scared, I got shook up, I didn't know what was going on," said Mary Carelock.

    Police said the intended target, who is African-American, had previously dated Boyette's current girlfriend, who is 16 years old and white.

    Investigators said Boyette was angry about their past together and had convinced his friends to make the cross after watching a movie about neo-Nazis.

    "It came out that they were inspired, I guess you would say, by the movie 'American History X'," said Lilesville Police Chief Bobby Gallimore.

    Authorities arrested Boyette and charged him with ethnic intimidation, a felony, and said they are discussing the case with federal authorities. The other two suspects were charged with trespassing and accessory after the fact.

    Officers also arrested the 16-year-old girl, saying she drove the getaway car.

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