Three men plead not guilty in 2009 cross-burning case

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Three 19-year-old Independence Township men accused of burning a cross on the property of a black family last year have pleaded not guilty.

Travis Nesbitt and Jonathan Waite were arraigned Tuesday in a district court in Independence Township. Joshua Willhite was arraigned Friday and is being held on unrelated charges in the Oakland County Jail.

All three men face a single charge of ethnic intimidation and conspiracy to commit ethnic intimidation.

Authorities say on Aug. 13 the three men burned a wooden cross in the family's yard in Oakland County's Independence Township, about 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

Jail officials did not immediately know if any of the men had lawyers.

Published: Fri, Feb 19, 2010