Independence Woman Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime
An Independence woman accused of trying to drive a biracial man from a neighborhood on U.S. 40 by vandalizing and setting fire to his mobile home pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.
Teresa Witthar, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the Fair Housing Act, and one count of obstruction of justice, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.
Investigators said that Witthar was part of a group who were determined to get Nathaniel Reed, who is biracial, out of the Highland Manor Mobile Home Park, 17311 E. U.S. 40 in 2006. The group entered Reed’s home and wrote racial slurs on the walls, and a few days later, the indictment alleges, Witthar got gasoline to start a fire at Reed’s home.
On June 8, 2006, at least one of the group threw a gas can with a lit piece of cloth under the mobile home, the indictment says.