4 Face Arson, Hate Crime Trial for Cross Burning in California
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Four people have been ordered to stand trial on charges they torched an 11-foot cross outside the California central coast home of a black teenager.
A San Luis Obispo County judge ruled Monday there was enough evidence to try 32-year-old Jeremiah Hernandez, 36-year-old Jason Kahn, 24-year-old Sara Matheny and 20-year-old William Soto.
The defendants are white and Hispanic and are to be arraigned Sept. 28 on arson, conspiracy and hate crime charges.
The San Luis Obispo County Tribune reports the cross was set ablaze on March 18 in a lot behind the house where a black family lived. The teen was watching television when she noticed a glowing light outside and saw the cross.
Defense attorneys argue there's no evidence the defendants knew a black person lived there.