Man pleads guilty in cross burning case

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2005

SEATTLE - An Edmonds man faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his role in burning a wooden cross at the Edmonds home of an Arab-American family last summer.

Collin Sargent, 19, pleaded guilty this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a charge of violating federal civil rights laws. He is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 7.

Two other Snohomish County men - Jayson Russell, 19, of Snohomish, and Joseph Lin, 18, of Lynnwood - have been indicted on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about their involvement in the cross-burning case.

Sargent told prosecutors that he helped build the 5-foot-tall cross, drove it to the family's home, helped set it up in the front yard and ignited it.

The fire charred some shrubs, but did not damage the home. The family was away on vacation at the time. A family friend later found the cross, no longer burning, and called police.

The indictments against Russell and Lin claim they discussed misleading stories to tell the grand jury to give the impression they did not participate in the cross burning.

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