For months, police sought to catch a “white KKK member” who threatened to burn down homes and lynch multiple black families. When they finally discovered who had been making the terroristic threats, everyone was in shock.
Residents in an Atlanta neighborhood are finally able to rest after investigators say they caught the author of a series of violent and racist threats. However, the community is both shocked and confused over the culprit’s identity and their motive for such an intricate series of crimes.
The incident began when the Douglasville Police Department received multiple calls from black residents in the suburb of Brookmont that their lives were being threatened. The residents complained that they had been finding letters in their mailboxes, which vowed to burn down their homes and murder them by hanging, WNYW reports.
“The notes threatened to burn their houses down and kill them and said that they didn’t belong in the neighborhood,” said Detective Nathan Shumaker.
In the letters, the author described themself as a “six-feet tall white male with a long, red beard” and a devout member of the Ku Klux Klan. The writer used racial slurs and spoke of hanging people and killing children. The notes were left in mailboxes at night multiple times over the course of nearly 8 months but provided police with little evidence of who was terrorizing the recipients.
Police went “door-to-door” asking residents for surveillance video footage and any other information that might lead them to the culprit. They even resorted to repeatedly walking the neighborhood to hand out flyers. Fortunately, after months of unsuccessful investigating, the offender’s final letter gave authorities the break they needed.
The final letter provided police with evidence linking the threats to the home of an “African-American female.” Law enforcement gathered enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for the home of 30-year-old Terresha Lucas. Upon entry, detectives discovered further evidence tieing her to the letters. She was then charged with 8 counts of making terroristic threats.
Police Chief Dr. Gary Sparks commended the department and reiterated that, if not for the officers’ persistence in finding the culprit, the victims would still be fearing for their lives.
“Our investigators had the drive to stick with this case and see it all to the end,” Sparks said. “That’s what we’re all about and this reflects the professionalism and integrity of the department. They stayed with it and put in a lot of hours. Even when some people went to the media, which could have hampered our investigation, we still stuck with it to the end.”
According to the Georgia Code of Law, a person convicted of a terroristic threat is to be punished as a misdemeanor. However, if the threat implies the death of an individual, the convicted party is to be guilty of a felony, which must be punished by a minimum of 1 year behind bars and no more than 5 years in prison.
If Lucas is convicted of all 8 counts and all of her threats suggested the death of the individual, she could face up to 40 years in prison along with a maximum of $8,000 in fines. Of course, it’s unlikely she will receive such a harsh penalty, but even a single conviction on a felony count of making a terroristic threat will earn her a year in prison.
Many are outraged that Lucas isn’t being charged with a hate crime, since she targeted black residents. However, there is also the fact that she intended to demonize and vilify white residents, possibly causing a racial rift in the community.
The case is a prime example of just how rarely true racism rears its ugly head. It is such a scarcity that people are creating hate crime hoaxes in order to make others believe it still runs rampant in our nation. While racism will always be an issue, it’s hardly as widespread and pervasive as these race-baiters make it out to be.