Newspaper Archive of
Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
May 1, 2007     Lassen County Times
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May 1, 2007

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2B Tuesday, May 1 2007 Lassen County Times/Westwood PinePress By Sam Williams News Editor Two men accused of burn- ing a cross outside a black priest's residence in Westwood, pleaded guilty in Sacramento federal court on Monday, April 23 to felony hate-crime charges. Westwood residents Kevin William Ridenour, 21, and Nicholas Edward Craig, 18, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of interference with the housing rights of the black priest after admitting they burned a cross in the street outside the rectory of Our Lady of. the. Snows Catholic Church in the early morning hours on March 23. The church's priest, the Rev. Bernardin Mugabowakigeri, is a native of Rwanda. According to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office, Ridenour and Craig admitted building the cross and burning it out- side the rectory to "threaten and intimidate the priest because of his race." The men lived less than a block away from the church. They also admitted talking about how the Ku Klux Klan burned crosses to intimidate black people. Ridenour characterized the incident as a joke and saidhe had ties to the Peckerwood Gang in Chico, a white supremacist group. He told investigators he once had Peckerwood tattoos, but those had been covered up With larger tattoos. "It shocks the conscience that such hateful acts are car- ried out in this day and age," said United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott. Foundations, Drives, Curbs, Walks, Patios, Tall Walls, Demolitions, Excavating and Paving Commercial & Residential, Lic. A, C-8 #748526 Chester, Lake Almanor 258-1917 Chico 891-1947 515 Main Street, EO. Box 589 Chester, CA 96020 Ph. (530) 258-2220 = Fax (530) 258-3383 GAS WOOD PELLET STOVES FIREPLACES INSERTS ACCESSORIES BBQ GRILLS MANTELS GARAGE DOORS Visit our showroom with burning pellet and wood stoves! How:s': Tue. - Fri. 9-4p.m. Sat. 9-2 p.m. CA Lic. #884988 cross Ridenour and Craig plead- ed guilty in a written plea agreement made before United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell. According to the plea agreement, the government will recommend Ridenour spend two years in prison and Craig serve 21 months in prison. The maximum statutory . penalty for the offense is up to ten years in prison, but the actual sentence will be deter- mined by the j'udge after con- sidering federal sentencing guidelines and the defen- dants' criminal history. Sentencing for both defen- dants is scheduled for July 2. Officers from the Lassen County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation both investigat- ed the case. A,teacher from Fletcher Walker Elementary, which is located across the street from the church, discovered the burned wooden cross the morning of March 23. The sheriff's department responded to a call at 1:45 p.m. on March 24, to a report of vandalism at the church. They found the large, partial- ly burned wooden cross near the alley and determined the incident was more than van- dalism. A motion-sensing security light in the carport outside the rectory also had been spray-painted black. During their investigation, the deputies located witness- es who confirmed their theo- ry the cross burning was a racially motivated hate crime and identified two suspects. Ridenour and Craig were arrested and transported to the Lassen County jail on Westwood residents Kevin William Ridenour, 21, and Nicholas Edward Craig, 18, face up to 10 years in federal prison for their roles in burning this cross outside the rectory of the Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in the early morning hours of March 23. The pair admitted burning the cross and pleadedguilty to a felony hate-crime charge on Monday, April 23 in Sacramento District Court. The church's priest, the Rev. Bernardin Mugabowakigeri, is a native of Rwanda. Photo by Sam Williams FREE ,DIABETIC FOOT CLINIC Friday May 18th 2007 1:00 PM at Westwood Senior Citizens Club 2nd & Birch St. Learn about good diabetic foot and nail care. We'll do sensory foot exam and comfort soaks. Sue Hagar, MD will be available for consult. Kerry Medical Supply will offer custom fitted diabetic shoes and socks. (Diabetic shoes are a covered expense for those with certain foot problems. In most cases, Medicare pays 100% of the cost,) To sign up call: March 24. They were booked and charged with civil rights vio- lations, civil rights violations with property damage, con- spiracy, vandalism, use of an incendiary device and delay- ing or obstructing peace offi- cers. Bail for each was set at $53,500. Both men allegedly con- fessed their involvement in the incident to Lassen County Siaeriff's deputies, according to a seven-page criminal com- plaint filed in district court. On April 2, U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd signed an order requiring Lassen County authorities to relin- quish custody Of the men. They were handed over to FBI agents at the Lassen County Adult Detention Facility on April 3 for trans- portation to S~c~:ament0 to face the federal d j'ges. Westwood Family Practice 256-3152 i A serv ee of :~ '~" lid Northeastern Rural Health Clinics America'S Favorite Garage Doors* -" Quality healthcare, Your choice Our commitment ' May Classes with/inda Dunn Saturday, May 5th at 8:30am Saturday May 12th at 8:30am 2 cu. ft. All YoU Can Eat Buffet ' 99o. TA Prime Rib Fajitas, Cheese Enchiladas and more 95 per person Margaritas & Specialty Drinks .+ by Don Juan and his MagicalMargarita Machine 705-670 Hwy, 395 E. Susanville 112 mi from Hwy. 395/36 intersection