LILESVILLE — Police Chief Bobby Gallimore said he’s asked FBI officials whether federal charges can be brought against four Richmond County residents arrested in connection with a cross burning in the Anson County town.
At about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, the Lilesville Police Department and Anson County Sheriff’s Office were called to a residence on Camden Street in Lilesville and found a cross burning in the yard. Lilesville, about 60 miles southeast of Charlotte, had 536 residents in the 2010 census.
“The incident was racially motivated, and there have been four people charged in connection with this hate crime,” said Gallimore, who is chief in Lilesville.
“All four people were Caucasian and from the Richmond County area,” he said.
Those arrested were identified by police as:
• Ethan Boyette, 19, Hamlet, charged with felony ethnic intimidation, injury to real property, second-degree trespassing and resisting a public officer.
• William Sheppard, 18, Hamlet, charged with felony accessory after the fact of committing a felony, injury to real property and second-degree trespassing.
Benjamin Benson, 22, Rockingham, charged with felony accessory after the fact of committing a felony.
• Angelica Deaver,16, Hamlet, charged with felony accessory after the fact of committing a felony. She was arrested and released by the magistrate to the custody of her parents.
Police said Deaver and an African-American man at the residence on Camden Street had formerly been in a relationship and that she is now in a relationship with Boyette.
“It’s horrific that at this day in time, and where we are in society, that something like this could happen,” Gallimore said. “It’s not something you expect to see. It’s shocking this would happen now. And looking at it from the side of the residents, imagine seeing it in your yard — it’s pretty horrific.”
Gallimore said the cross, made of wood sticks, looked to be about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.