8 Indicted In Chesco Cross-burning

Posted: August 24, 1994

Eight Chester County residents were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in connection with the midnight burning of a cross on the front porch of a black family in May.

Six of the eight were charged with civil rights violations, including conspiracy, using fire to commit a felony and interfering with the right to occupy a dwelling. Two others were charged with lying to the grand jury.

The indictment stems from an incident that occurred May 30 in Honey Brook Borough in rural western Chester County.

A four-foot cross, wrapped in foil and kerosene-drenched rags, was burned in front of the duplex where Beverly Miller and her three young children lived. The ground outside was littered with hate literature bearing racial epithets and drawings.

The Millers were the only African American family in the borough and have moved since the incident. A Polynesian family living in the other half of the duplex still lives in the dwelling, even though it was the subject of threatening phone calls allegedly made to authorities by one of the men named in the indictment.

Those indicted yesterday were Paul Patton, 44, and his two sons, Jason Patton, 23, and Chad Patton, 19; Nikki Parscale, 40, Robert Jackson Hester, 19, Jeremy Madden, 20, Keith Holeton, 24, and Joan Crawford, 20. Chad Patton and Crawford were the two charged with lying to the grand jury. All are from Honey Brook. The Pattons, Parscale and Crawford are residents of the Lazy Acres Trailer Park.

All of the individuals charged except for Madden, Crawford and Chad Patton were in custody late yesterday awaiting arraignment before a federal magistrate on Friday. Madden had been released from county detention last week on $25,000 bail and was expected to surrender to authorities, Stiles said. The whereabouts of Crawford and Patton were unknown, although they were not considered fugitives, he said.

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