JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Two men convicted of trying to drive a black family out of the neighborhood, burning a cross in the family's yard and hanging a noose on the door, have been sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison.
Jeremy Kratzer (search), 25, and Ricky "Chase" Hobbs (search), 23, were found guilty in March of conspiring to violate the civil rights of Deborah Edwards (search) and her four children in April 1999. The men were sentenced Tuesday.
Prosecutor Stephen Curran portrayed Kratzer and Chase Hobbs as ringleaders of a group of teenage boys determined to drive Deborah Edwards and her four children out of Nine Mile. At the time, they were the only black family in the predominantly white community.
They were in the home for only a week before people in passing vehicles screamed racial epithets at her. A noose was hung on their door, and a dead raccoon was thrown on their front lawn. On Easter Sunday 1999, a cross was burned in their back yard.
Hobbs' brother, Roston "Chance" Hobbs, 20, and Joshua Hancock, 23, were both sentenced to three years of probation as part of plea agreements with federal authorities.
Phillip Foy, 22, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the family's civil rights. He was charged as a juvenile and the terms of his sentence weren't released.