A western Pennsylvania man is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for burning a cross in a white woman's yard because she had a black man living there.
21 year old Ryan Held, of Phillipsburg, pleaded guilty in October to two counts of interfering with housing for the August 2010 incident in Woodland in Clearfield County.
Federal prosecutors say the Centre County man wanted to intimidate the woman and her male friend, who have not been named in court papers.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says that Held, who is also known as Ryan Foley, set fire to a 2-foot cross and a plastic gas can in the front yard of a home.
The indictment says Held burned the cross “to discourage the victim from allowing another person, on account of that person’s race, to occupy a dwelling.”
The female victim testified at the preliminary that she saw Held drive past her home twice that night. State troopers also said Held sent a text message containing a racial slur.
Held is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson in Johnstown for sentencing. The crimes carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.