Mississippi Man Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison After Burning Cross to Intimidate Black Family

Axel Cox, 24, mugshot, white man
Mississippi Department of Corrections

Axel Cox, 24, burned a cross where his Black neighbors could see it and yelled threats and racial slurs at them.

A Mississippi man will spend 42 months behind bars for burning a cross in his yard in an attempt to intimidate a Black family that lived in his neighborhood.

Axel Cox, 24, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release on Thursday after he was found guilty of committing a federal hate crime in December 2020, according to the Department of Justice.

After a dispute with the family, Cox placed a cross where the victims could see it then covered it in oil and lit it on fire while he yelled threats and racial slurs at them, said the DOJ. 

According to the DOJ, Cox confessed that he attempted to intimidate his Black neighbors in hopes to scare them enough to get them to want to move out of the area. 

“This cross burning was an abhorrent act that used a traditional symbol of hatred and violence to stoke fear and drive a Black family out of their home,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “While one might think cross-burnings and white supremacist threats and violence are things of the past, the unfortunate reality is that these incidents continue today." 

As part of his sentencing, the judge also ordered that Cox pay restitution in the amount of $7,810 to his victims, the DOJ said.

“No one should endure such hatred and intimidation because of the color of his skin,” said U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi. “This defendant has been held accountable. His sentence should permeate among his kind and declare that Mississippi and the Department of Justice will not tolerate this hateful behavior.”

Related Stories