A White ex-University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty yesterday (March 24) to tying a noose on a statue of James Meredith in 2014.
Georgia resident Austin Reed Edenfield, 21, could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for an unspecified misdemeanor charge that says he helped other former Ole Miss students intimidate Black students and university staff. According to the Associated Press, Edenfield admitted to tying “the noose that ended up around the neck of the Ole Miss statue of James Meredith,” the student who integrated the university under U.S. Marshals’ protection in 1962. He and two other students also draped a former Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle emblem on the same statue.
Prosecutors said that Graeme Phillip Harris, Edenfield and another student concocted the plot after a night of drinking at the university’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house. Edenfield also assisted in the prosecution of Harris, who had a track record of racist statements and is currently serving his own six-month prison sentence at a minimum-security federal prison in North Carolina.
A U.S. district judge will sentence Edenfield on July 21.