8 Accused In Cross Burning Incident Occurred In Honeybrook, Chester County, On May 30

Posted: August 24, 1994

They covered their faces and wore dark clothing when setting fire to the four-foot wooden cross on the porch of the only black family in Honeybrook, Chester County, on May 30.

But telltale fingerprints were left behind, authorities said.

A federal grand jury yesterday indicted eight Honeybrook residents in connection with the cross burning. They were charged with civil rights violations, using fire to commit a felony, aiding and abetting, and interfering with federal housing rights.

Chester County District Attorney Anthony Sarcione credited county detective Kenneth Beam with lifting the fingerprints off the aluminum foil used to wrap the kerosene-soaked rags around the cross and from the Ku Klux Klan literature scattered at the scene.

The fingerprints were identified in the indictment as those of Jason Edgar Patton, 23, and Jeremy Tristan Madden, 20, who were arrested in June on state charges of ethnic intimidation.

But the full conspiracy was not revealed until yesterday.

The grand jury found that Patton and Madden had conspired with six others, including Patton's brother, Chad, 19; his father, Paul, 44; Nikki Parscale, 40; Joan Crawford, 20; Keith Holeton, 24, and Robert Jackson Hester, 19.

Five are in custody. Crawford, Chad Patton and Madden, who was released Friday on $25,000 bail on related state charges, are at large.

Paul Patton and Crawford were also charged with obstruction of justice for urging others to lie before the grand jury; Crawford and Chad Patton were charged with lying before the grand jury.

A detention hearing is set for Friday.

U.S. Attorney Michael Stiles said the case was the first federal prosecution of a cross burning in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ''There's no place in our society for a crime like this," said acting FBI special agent-in-charge R. Dodge Frederick.

"Ethnic intimidation will not be tolerated," said assistant U.S. Attorney Timony R. Rice, who will prosecute the case.

According to the indictment, Paul Patton, Jason Patton, Madden, Holeton, Hester and Parscale agreed to burn the cross in front of the home of Beverly Miller, 41, a nurse in a nearby nursing home, and her three children, in an attempt to force them to move from town.

About 7 on the night of the cross burning, Madden and Jason Patton bought a flammable substance at a gas station-convenience store, the indictment said.

At 12:13 a.m., Paul Patton, using the fake name of "Mike Brown," reported a phony fight at a junkyard on the outskirts of town to divert police.

Once Parscale heard police on a scanner respond to the phony fight, she notified Paul Patton who drove Jason Patton, Madden, Holeton and Hester to the Miller home, carrying a concrete block to mount the cross and the cross wrapped in kerosene soaked rags, the indictment said.

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