Man Accused Of Burning Cross, Alleged Victim Speaks Out

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A burning cross is widely associated with the Ku Klux Klan; the white supremacist group used it as a way to intimidate African Americans.

Nigel Spahr, an African American who has spent almost all of his life in northern New York, never thought he'd see such a thing in the north country.

But, on April 29, he was the target of the hate crime.

"I was kind of intimidated by it and really scared by it," said Nigel.

A cross was burned on the property next to the home Nigel has been visiting in Hammond.

His fiance and their two small children were also there.

"I came out. They had a huge cross standing, pouring more gas on it and lighting it on fire again, screaming very racial slurs," said Ashley Brothers, Nigel's fiancee.

By "they," she's referring to 28 year old Ryann Wilson of 3 Shady Lawn Drive.

Wilson is not only accused of burning a cross, he also allegedly allegedly threatened Nigel's life.

"And before the cross was burning, they said they were gonna hang me by a noose," said Nigel.

Nigel's friends say Wilson was angry because they wouldn't let him join their campfire. 

However, a property dispute involving Wilson has been going on for a while. 

"I really wish this would just stop. We're just here living our lives and we don't need this," said Dan Snyder, who is the landlord for the house Nigel was visiting. 

A woman who identified herself as the suspect's wife said, "This whole thing is a lot of bulls..t."

She claimed there was no cross at all.

"I feel uncomfortable now, a lot, around here. I just hope that they can do all they can to protect me from people like that," said Nigel.

Though authorities don't believe Wilson is affiliated with any hate groups, state law makes burning a burning a cross in public view a felony.

Wilson is being held in jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Saturday, August 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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