CINCINNATI -- A man police accused of vandalizing his former rental home with racist graffiti will face federal hate crime charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Samuel Whitt, 40, lived in Pat and Joe Jude's East Price Hill property until early November, the couple said.
Pat Jude said she and her husband had leased the bottom floor of the house to Whitt and his fiancee, but evicted them when they could no longer pay their rent.
The Judes gave the pair multiple chances to pay and attempted to work with them, Pat said, but could not come to an agreement.
Whitt retaliated by scrawling "white power" and swastikas on the walls of the home and poured cement into the plumbing, according to police.
He was arrested in December and charged with felony breaking and entering as well as felony vandalism, Lt. Steve Saunders said.
It has been about 20 years since the Southern District of Ohio has prosecuted a hate crime in relation to a fair housing violation.
U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman said Wednesday where there is a hate crime statute available, his office intends on using it.
"In this case, the tenant allegedly was interfering with the landlord's rights to rent that house by trying to destroy it after being evicted again on the basis of the landlord's race, color and familial status," Glassman said.
According to the FBI, investigations of civil rights violations like should remain a high priority.
"The types of acts alleged in the indictment have no place in our society and we will continue to prevent any civil right violations in the future," Angela Byers, Special Agent In Charge for the FBI.
The damage had made the home uninhabitable, according to the Judes. They needed to replace paint, drywall, ceilings and appliances, among other items.
The part that hurt the worst was the reminder of discrimination they've faced before: Their son, Jay, committed suicide because he was bullied for being bi-racial, the Judes said.
Online donations helped them pay for repairs, and new tenants moved in by March.
Whitt, who has also been charged with arson, entered a guilty plea in court Wednesday. He faces up to five to 20 year in prison.