On September 1, father and son duo Wade Oscar Twiner and Lane Irvine Twiner of Yazoo City, Mississippi, were sentenced to four years in prison after being charged with hate crimes for chasing down and shooting at two Black teenagers.
The Associated Press reported that jurors convicted each man of two counts of simple assault and one count of malicious mischief.
According to the district attorney’s office, the penalty for each count of simple assault convictions increased since the men’s actions were deemed hate crimes under Mississippi law.
The law allows for more substantial penalties to be applied for crimes motivated by the victim’s race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or gender.
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Chief Deputy Joseph, Head of the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Office, told the Clarion-Ledger that investigators looked into social media posts added by one of the Twiners that supported the idea of racially motivated crimes.
One of the posts included the phrase “Redneck Neighborhood Watch” and a confederate flag photo.
Despite the victims of the incident not being injured, they mentioned to the investigator having felt frightened for their lives.
The teens were riding on ATVs through the country road close to Wade Twiner’s home when the father and son decided to hop in their pickup truck and chase them, eventually firing several shots and bumping into one of the ATVs with the truck.
According to a statement acquired by Yazoo County Sheriff Jake, the Sheriff told WLBT the Twiners reportedly own land on both sides of the public road and do not want to deal with people riding ATVs.
The sheriff also mentioned that other people were riding ATVs by the Twiners’ home on the day of the incident but were not chased down or shot.