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Hammond, NY, where the crime is alleged to have taken place. Image:
Hammond, NY, where the crime is alleged to have taken place. Image:

Hammond man faces felony charges after cross burning

After allegedly burning a cross on his lawn and shouting racial slurs at the guest of a neighbor, Ryann Wilson, of the St. Lawrence County town of Hammond, is facing felony aggravated harassment charges.

Wilson is being held at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with a $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Officer Robert Rusaw of the correctional facility says Wilson is headed to court Wednesday to face the harassment charge.

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Reported by

Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

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Your News Now and WWNY-TV reported Monday that Wilson had been arraigned.

The incident happened back in late April — Nigel Spahr, who is black, was visiting a friend with fiancee and their two young children, and they were having a campfire. Apparently Wilson wanted to join, and when Spahr and his friend said no, he reportedly told the group that "he was going to get a noose to hang the black guy." (That's according to Dan Snyder, who's the landlord for the house Spahr was visiting; the friend hasn't been identified.)

Afterwards, YNN reports, Wilson returned to his property, and shortly thereafter burned the cross. Spahr told YNN, "I didn't believe it at first. I went over and looked out the side door and peeked out and sure enough, there was a burning cross."

New York state law makes burning a cross in public view a felony. WWNY-TV reports authorities don't believe Wilson is involved in any hate groups. A woman who identified herself as Wilson's wife said she didn't believe there was a cross burning at all: "This whole thing is a whole lot of bulls..t [ellipses in original]."

Wilson has apparently been involved in an ongoing property dispute with his neighbor for some time.

Spahr said he "just doesn't feel safe" with Wilson around, and hopes the police can protect him from "people like that."

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