A former University of Mississippi student who pleaded guilty to helping hang a noose around the neck of the James Meredith statue on campus was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. Mills sentenced Graeme Phillip Harris to six months in prison and one year supervised release for helping place a rope around the neck of the statue of Ole Miss’ first black student, according to a news release from the Justice Department.
The noose was found around the neck of the Meredith statue in February 2014. An outdated Georgia state flag containing the Confederate “stars and bars” was also draped on the statue’s shoulders.
Harris was slapped with federal civil rights charges in connection with the vandalism more than a year later. His attorneys said it was “patently untrue” that Harris helped hang the noose on the statue and pointed out that another, unidentified student who they said admitted to the vandalism was not indicted. Nevertheless, Harris struck a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening force to intimidate black students and employees at the university.
The DOJ release noted the investigation was ongoing.