Former Ole Miss Student Pleads Guilty to Tying Noose on Statue of 1st Black Student

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A former University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty Thursday to hanging a noose around the historic statue of the school's first black student, the Associated Press reports


According to the report, a federal court filing shows that Austin Reed Edenfield waived indictment and pleaded guilty to an unspecified criminal charge. Edenfield was supposed to plead guilty in September, but U.S. District Judge Michael Mills delayed the previous court date for reasons that have not been publicly explained. 

It is unknown what charge Edenfield faced, although, AP notes, individuals usually agree to waive indictment and plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. Edenfield could face up to a year in prison. 

Edenfield was one of a group of Ole Miss students who took part in a February 2014 racially charged incident during which a noose and a former Georgia state flag, complete with a Confederate battle emblem, were placed on the statue of James Meredith, the first black student to attend Ole Miss. 

Prosecutors accused former student Graeme Phllip Harris of organizing the plan to drape the offensive symbols on the statue after a night of drinking with Edenfield and a third student in the Sigma Phi Epsilon frat house on campus. 

Harris pleaded guilty in June to a charge of threatening force to intimidate African-American students and employees at the university, a misdemeanor charge, after prosecutors agreed to drop a felony charge, AP notes. The third student was not charged. However, all three withdrew from the university.

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