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Albemarle County man arrested for putting noose on Homer statue at UVa

An Albemarle County man has been charged with intimidation for placing a noose on the statue of Homer at the University of Virginia in September.

Shane Dennis, no age given, appeared for a bond hearing Tuesday morning in Albemarle County District Court on charges of displaying a noose for public intimidation. The charge, considered a hate crime, is a Class 6 felony.

He was also charged with contempt of court for misbehaving in the courtroom by refusing to communicate with court officials, according to the district court records.

His bond hearing was continued and he currently is in custody at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail.

University Police also served Dennis with a no trespassing order that prohibits him from being on UVa property.

Dennis was arrested on Monday, according to University of Virginia Police and court records.

On Sept. 7, a noose was found draped across the Homer statue that stands at Old Cabell Hall end of the Lawn. Video from nearby university buildings showed a white man in a dark sweatshirt or jacket leaving the area early in the morning.

Virginia law makes displaying or leaving a noose on someone’s private property as a form of intimidation a felony. The law also makes it a felony to display a noose on a highway or other public place with the intent to intimidate others. It’s the latter part of the law with which Dennis is charged.

“After this incident on the Lawn was first reported, University Police opened an investigation immediately, working with our local partners and the FBI to identify a suspect and bring charges,” said Tim Longo, university police chief and assistant vice president for safety and security. “We are grateful to so many people who assisted with this investigation, including members of the community who contacted police and offered helpful information in this case.”

University police also believe Dennis was the person who left other items near Homer’s statue on Oct. 22, including a mask, a cross and a flag.

Police said Dennis has no prior known relationship with the university.

A Class 6 felony is the lowest category of felony and is one step up from a misdemeanor. It carries a sentence that can range between one and five years and a fine up to $2,500, or both. However, state law allows a judge or jury discretion to provide a sentence of not more than 12 months or $2,500 fine, or both.

Dennis is slated for a Dec. 8 preliminary hearing, court records show.


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