A man indicted for threatening his Black neighbors with a noose in Texas will spend time in prison, a judge said Wednesday. However, he received a lenient sentence for the federal hate crime.
Glenn Eugene Halfin, 64, of Grapevine, will serve a one-year sentence. Halfin, a retired firefighter, was arrested in January by Grapevine police and charged with stalking. He later pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of interfering with an African-American family’s housing rights in July. He had taunted his neighbors — Dante Petty, 28, his wife and their young daughter — by hanging a Black baby doll using a noose outside of their apartment last December.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton ordered Halfin, who repeatedly targeted Petty and his family, to report to prison in 30 days, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The man, like other defendants in hate crimes, intentionally sought to harass the family, court records said. Halfin committed his actions “knowing that [the] display would be particularly intimidating for the family who had a young daughter,” according to a case document.
The case, with its strong racial undertones, drew strong criticism from a prosecutor.
“It’s reprehensible,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Dana said during the hearing for Halfin. “It’s disturbing.”
Lawyers also used the case as a way to send a strong anti-hate message. They wanted community members to know that crimes motivated by racism would not be tolerated.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate acts of intimidation and fear, or illegal threats against any individual or family because of their race,” Acting Assistant Attorney John Gore said after Halfin’s guilty plea. “We will continue to prosecute hate crime offenders.”
“No one should be afraid to go home at night,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said. “Our community will not tolerate crimes of intimidation or bigotry, and my office will continue to prosecute all those who persecute others based on their race, color, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.”