Tags: austin reed edenfield | guilty | noose | ole miss | statue

Austin Reed Edenfield Guilty of Putting Noose on Ole Miss Statue

Image: Austin Reed Edenfield Guilty of Putting Noose on Ole Miss Statue
Statue of James Meredith on the University of Mississipppi campus. (YouTube)

By    |   Friday, 25 Mar 2016 12:19 PM

Austin Reed Edenfield pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge Thursday for putting a noose on the statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi in Oxford more than two years ago, prosecutors announced.

Edenfield was the second person to plead guilty in the incident that resulted in a federal count of using a threat of force to intimidate African-Americans and employees because of their race or color, said a U.S. Attorney's Office statement.

Last September, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills ordered Graeme Phillip Harris to prison on Jan. 4 to serve a six-month sentence in connection with the incident, according to the Oxford Eagle. Harris will spend one year on supervised probation after the prison sentence and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

Harris and Edenfield, who were both students of Ole Miss at the time, admitted in court that they tied a rope and an outdated version of the Georgia state flag that prominently depicts the Confederate battle flag around the neck of the statue before dawn on Feb. 16, 2014, said prosecutor.

Edenfield admitted in court that he knew the appearance would be threatening and intimidating to African-American students.

BuzzFeed News said Edenfield will be sentenced on July 21.

Meredith was the first African-American student at the University of Mississippi, leading the integration of the Ole Miss campus in 1962.

In September, Harris's attorney David Hill said he was surprised by his client's prison sentence, according to the Oxford Eagle.

"First, from my own professional experience, few federal misdemeanors result in prison time, and second, I thought we had made a strong pre-sentence showing justifying an alternative sentence, either outright probation or home detention, specifically considering Graeme's own efforts at moving forward with his life in positive fashion and considering the strong support network in his home and community to aid and assist him in growing and moving forward from this completely thoughtless and insensitive act," Hill told the Eagle.

BuzzFeed said a third student was implicated in the case but not charged. The three left Ole Miss after the incident and their fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, closed its campus chapter.

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Austin Reed Edenfield pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge Thursday for putting a noose on the statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi in Oxford more than two years ago, prosecutors announced.
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Friday, 25 Mar 2016 12:19 PM
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