The interracial couple targeted in a cross burning in February are leaving Hants County — saying their car being burnt to its frame last weekend was the final straw.
Michelle Lyon said the move was prompted by fear for the safety of her family after her car was fire bombed early Saturday morning. The RCMP have made no arrests in relation to the incident and are asking anyone with information to contact police.
“For safety reasons, I think it’s just best that we just leave,” said Lyon, who is white. “And for piece of mind.”
In February, a cross was burned outside Lyon’s residence, where she lives with her partner Shayne Howe, who is black. The incident brought national attention to the question of race relations in Nova Scotia.
Two distant relatives of Lyon’s have been charged with committing a hate crime in relation to the incident.
Justin Rehberg, 19, will be going to trial Oct. 18 in provincial court in Windsor after pleading not guilty this week to the charges he faces.
His brother, Nathan Rehberg, 20, will enter a plea May 18.
“When they were caught, we thought, ‘We can get over this,’” said Lyon, referring to the arrests of Justin and Nathan Rehberg. “It gradually started going back to the routine of things, and to a normalcy … Tensions were going down, at a low. Then my car gets burned, and then boom — we’re right back where we were when this all started.”
Lyon is not sure where her family will re-locate, but has certainly ruled out one area.
“It will not be in Hants County. We will not re-locate in Hants County,” she proclaimed. “We will be going away.”