Gary Moss, 37, was sentenced to serve 41 months in federal prison for conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights, and co-conspirator Devan Klausegger, 30, was sentenced to serve 51 months for the same charge. Both defendants were ordered to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $3,107.
According to their plea agreements, as set forth in the indictment, on May 26, 2008, Moss poured a flammable liquid in the shape of a cross and the letters "KKK" on the front lawn of a residence leased by an African-American, his Hispanic wife and their two small children. Then Klausegger handed Moss a small explosive device which Moss used to start a fire on the lawn. The fire was close enough to the victims’ house to endanger the dwelling and its occupants, including the couple’s two small children. Fortunately, a neighbor grabbed a garden hose and extinguished the fire before the victims could be harmed.
In connection with their guilty pleas in February 2009, Moss and Klausegger admitted that they acted with the intent to interfere with the victims’ rights under the Fair Housing Act because they knew that the person who leased the residence was African American.
"Americans should be free to live in a home of their choosing, free from threats of bigotry and intimidation. The Civil Rights Division will prosecute those who commit such despicable acts of hatred to the full extent of the law," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
"Crimes motivated by racial hatred are an abomination in a civilized society," U. S. Attorney Immergut said. "We hope that the sentences imposed today will deter others from engaging in similar conduct".