A 26-year-old man from Greenwood, South Carolina was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to lynch his Black neighbor.
Brandon Cory Lecroy was arrested in 2018 after the FBI received a tip from a confidential source that he had reached out to a white supremacist organization looking for help, authorities said. An FBI agent posed as a hitman and spoke to Lecroy to determine whether he was serious about his plot to kill his neighbor.
Lecroy spoke to the undercover agent on March 20, 2018 and offered the agent “$500 and he’s a ghost.” He offered to pay $500 for the “hit man” to kill his Black neighbor, hang the neighbor from a tree, and place a “flaming cross” in the neighbor’s front yard, the US Attorney General’s Office in South Carolina said in a statement.
According to The New York Times, Lecroy provided the agent with photos of two targets, including his neighbor, and possible times to commit the hit job. An affidavit cited by The New York Times said that Lecroy said he planned to take over his Black neighbor’s property.
He also requested a “ghost gun,” or an untraceable 9 mm firearm, from the agent. It was unclear what Lecroy planned to do with the weapon.
On April 9, 2018, Lecroy met with the undercover agent in Greenwood and discussed the attempted murder of his neighbor. Authorities said Lecroy also discussed other targets he wanted to have killed or injured, and handed the agent a $100 cash down payment. Law enforcement officers arrested Lecroy on the scene without incident.
Lecroy received the maximum 10 year sentence after pleading guilty to murder for hire, authorities said. US District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks also sentenced Leroy to three years of court-ordered supervision following his release.
Records at the Federal Bureau of Prisons state that Lecroy is not in federal custody. The Greenwood County Detention Center did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding Lecroy’s whereabouts.
Incidents of hate crimes have risen in recent years, according to statistics released by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Between 2016 and 2017, single bias incidents involving race or ethnicity rose from 3,489 to 4,131. Hate crimes due to racial or ethnic bias made up 58.1 percent of the hate crimes committed in 2017.
The DOJ revealed that of 6,370 known offenders of hate crimes during that time period, 50.7 percent were white, 21.3 percent were Black or African American, and 19.1 percent were of an unknown race.
Hate crimes happen all across the United States. On April 11, a Bronx man was convicted of defacing the African Burial Ground National Monument with a threatening racial slur. The following day, a Mississippi man pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for cross burning.
Federal officials launched an investigation after three historically Black churches were burned in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish. The fires took place at the St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.
Authorities arrested 21-year-old Holden Matthews last week on three charges of simple arson in connection to the fires. Officials initially suggested that Matthews’ alleged crimes were connected to black metal music. However, on Monday authorities charged Matthews with hate crimes on top of the three initial arson charges, The New York Times reported.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.