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Two Women Plead Guilty in Maryland to Civil Rights Violations
Two Baltimore women pleaded guilty today for their involvement in a racially-motivated conspiracy to interfere with an African family’s housing rights by hanging a dead raccoon on the family’s porch, the Justice Department announced.
Dena Whedbee, 42, and her daughter Brittany Whedbee, 20, each pleaded guilty in the District of Maryland to one count of conspiracy to deprive a person of civil rights and one count of violating the Fair Housing Act.
According to their plea agreement, in April 2010, Dena Whedbee and Brittany Whedbee conspired with Joshua Wall, Billy Pratt and another co-conspirator to hang a dead raccoon from a noose on the porch of a family from Africa, in order to frighten the family and interfere with their housing rights. Dena Whedbee admitted that she and another co-conspirator found the dead raccoon, and that Wall, Pratt and the other conspirator used the raccoon to carry out their plan on the night of April 29, 2010. Both Dena and Brittany Whedbee also admitted that they encouraged their co-conspirators to hang the raccoon on the family’s porch.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to deprive a person of civil rights and one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for violating the Fair Housing Act. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Dec. 14, 2012.
Billy Pratt, 24, of Baltimore, and Joshua Wall, 20, of Essex, Md., previously pleaded guilty for their involvement in the conspiracy. Their sentencings are scheduled for Aug. 17, 2012.
This case was investigated by Special Agent Mia Winkley of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Angie Cha of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham.