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Indianapolis man sentenced for making racist threats to neighbor

Shepherd Hoehn placed and burned a cross above the fence line facing his neighbor's property and displayed a sign with anti-Black slurs.
Credit: stock.adobe.com

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man will spend nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to making racist threats toward his neighbor.

In February, Shepherd Hoehn pleaded guilty to making threats to his neighbor because of the neighbor's race and unlawfully possessing a firearm. The threats are a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

A judge sentenced Hoehn to 46 months in prison and three years supervised release.

In June 2020, Hoehn was upset his neighbor was removing a tree on that neighbor's property. Hoehn took several steps to threaten, intimidate and interfere with his neighbor and the construction workers.

Hoehn placed and burned a cross above the fence line facing his neighbor's property; created and displayed a swastika on the outside of his fence, facing his neighbor's property; created and displayed a large sign containing a variety of anti-Black racial slurs next to the swastika; visibly displayed a machete near the sign with the racial slurs; loudly played the song "Dixie" on repeat; and threw eggs at his neighbor's house.

When the FBI searched Hoehn's house on July 1, 2020, they found firearms and drug paraphernalia. As a fugitive wanted for a case in Missouri, federal law prohibited Hoehn from possessing the firearms.

"Incidents of harassment and intimidation such as this are intended to create fear and this sentence clearly shows targeting someone based on race, sexual identity or religious beliefs will not be tolerated,"  said Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan of the FBI Indianapolis Division. "Crimes motivated by bias will continue to be investigated by the FBI and our law enforcement partners, and perpetrators held responsible for their actions."

The FBI investigated the case, along with the Lawrence Police Department.

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