Two brothers before the court for allegedly burning a cross on an interracial couple’s lawn are now facing a new criminal charge.
Prosecutors announced yesterday they were charging Justin Rehberg, 19, and Nathan Rehberg, 20, with criminal harassment. The charge, which is usually levelled in stalking cases, comes with a 10-year maximum sentence.
A bail hearing yesterday for the Rehbergs at Hants County provincial court in Windsor was put off until today. The brothers, who are from Avondale, Hants County, are also charged with mischief, uttering threats and public incitement of hatred.
During the brief court appearance, Nathan Rehberg gestured “I love you” to a girl in the gallery and at one point broke down in tears.
Shayne Howe and Michelle Lyon were in attendance. They say they discovered a two-metre-tall burning cross with a noose hanging from it outside their home in Newport, Hants County, a week ago Sunday.
Several people also came out to support the Rehbergs yesterday. One person was overheard saying he wouldn’t interpret a burning cross as a symbol of racial hatred.
“You know what? A lot of them don’t,” Howe told reporters.
“A lot of them are here to support Justin. We heard a lot of people say that Justin’s not that kind of person, and I don’t know. I don’t know Justin.”
Lyon said there’s no excuse for the crime.
“To me, that’s a cop-out,” she said. “The significance of a burning cross and the noose around the neck, they knew exactly what they were doing.”
None of the charges have been proven in court.
Rally for victims
Over 200 people took part in a rally in Windsor to support the victims of this incident on Saturday. Shayne Howe and Michelle Lyon had originally said they planned to move because they feared for their children’s safety, but now say they’ve received so much community support they’re not sure whether they will relocate.