A white man thought he’d hired someone to murder his black neighbor and plant a “flaming cross” in his front yard—but the hit man turned out to be an undercover agent, according to federal authorities.
Brandon Cory Lecroy of Greenwood, South Carolina, was indicted on Tuesday after being accused of plotting to kill his neighbor. According to court documents, the 25-year-old asked an undercover agent who he thought was a hit man to hang the neighbor from a tree and put a “flaming cross” in his front yard. Lecroy, who was charged with murder-for-hire, is undergoing mental evaluation at a Massachusetts prison hospital as ordered by a federal judge, the Charleston Post and Courier reported.
In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigations was informed that Lecroy wanted to contact a white supremacist organization for advice on how to murder his black neighbor, according to an affidavit. An undercover agent recorded a call with Lecroy the next day.
“$500 and he’s a ghost,” Lecroy allegedly told the agent. Lecroy also brought up the burning cross, and suggested a good time frame for the crime, according to court papers. He wanted the man to use an untraceable “ghost gun” to kill the neighbor, and suggested he had plans to take over the property next door, the feds said.
Lecroy was arrested after he gave the undercover agent a $100 down payment in April for the hit job and mentioned “future targets.” He now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, NBC-7 reported.
The names of the white supremacist organizations Leroy tried to reach out to have not been released by federal authorities. According to the Charleston City Paper, there were 14 active hate groups in South Carolina, and 954 hate groups operating in the U.S. as of last year. The tally comes from a Southern Poverty Law Center report on extremism released in February.
The number of neo-Nazi groups increased last year, but the Ku Klux Klan saw a dip in chapters, according to the SPLC. “The new generation of white supremacists” has arrived, the authors of the report wrote.