EVERETT — Two Arlington cousins were charged Wednesday in Snohomish County Juvenile Court with malicious harassment, a felony, for allegedly burning a makeshift cross in the yard of a black minister March 24 in Arlington.
The two, both 16, were being held at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center on $2,500 bail each.
The former Arlington High School students told authorities they intended a harmless prank in the front yard of a son of Pastor Jason Martin, but deputy prosecutor Dave Kurtz said in court papers that the incident was no mere prank.
The boys "crept onto the victim’s lawn in the middle of the night and chose to place there a symbol of hate — the basic significance of which they clearly understood," Kurtz said in charging papers.
Police alleged that they obtained copies of some pictures drawn by the cousins, including a hooded Ku Klux Klan figure with a noose in hand, and Confederate flags with captions such as "White Pride."
Police believe the teens broke apart a pallet and lashed pieces with duct tape to make the shape of a cross. They doused it with gasoline and drove to the Martin residence.
Police said both teens lighted the cross from opposite ends, got back in a pickup truck and coasted to the bottom of a hill before starting the truck.
The cross burning ignited community outrage and discussion about hate symbols.
If convicted, the boys face up to 30 days in detention.