A Buffalo, New York, man has pleaded guilty to burning a wooden cross on the front lawn of a biracial couple in July 2008.
On February 24, 2009, Donald R. Napierala pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to felony charges of attempted reckless endangerment in the first degree as a hate crime, and first-degree aggravated harassment.
Napierala, 41, was arrested during the early morning hours of July 7, 2008, shortly after he ignited a seven-foot wooden cross in the front lawn of a South Buffalo home occupied by a Puerto Rican man and a white woman who lived down the street from him. According to authorities, Napierala placed the cross in the lawn, draped a gasoline-soaked cloth over it, and then ignited it.
The sentencing is scheduled for April 22. Napierala faces up to seven years in prison for the charge of reckless endangerment as a hate crime, and up to four years for the charge of aggravated harassment.
Napierala has prior convictions including criminal possession of a weapon, criminal contempt, disorderly conduct and harassment.