An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime and weapons charges after threatening a Black neighbor, prosecutors said Friday.
Shepherd Hoehn, 51, became incensed over the neighbor hiring a construction crew to remove a tree last June 18 and burned a cross above the fence line facing the neighbor’s property; displayed a swastika on his fence; displayed a large sign containing several anti-Black racial slurs; displayed a machete near the sign; loudly played the Confederate anthem “Dixie” repeatedly; and threw eggs at the neighbor’s house, prosecutors said.
The FBI executed a search warrant at Hoehn’s home two weeks later and discovered several firearms and drug paraphernalia, they said.
“Hoehn’s hateful and threatening conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, is an egregious crime that will not be tolerated by the Justice Department,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan of the department's Civil Rights Division said. “Every person has a right to occupy, enjoy and feel safe in their homes, regardless of race, color or national origin.”
Hoehn’s sentencing date has not been set. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charges.