Man Gets 33 Months for Racist Threats Directed at Howard University

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Howard University
John Edgar Rust was previously convicted of aggravated sexual battery against a minor in 2012. (Image courtesy of Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia man has been sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for threatening to murder African Americans at historically black Howard University in 2015.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady sentenced 27-year-old John Edgar Rust of Alexandria to 33 months in federal court Friday. O’Grady found that Rust’s conduct constituted a hate crime, increasing his sentence, and also ordered Rust to pay $6,458 in restitution. Rust pleaded guilty to transmitting threats over the internet in March.

According to an FBI affidavit, Rust posted his threat to a chat board in November 2015. He concluded by saying “After all, it’s not murder if they’re black.”

The affidavit states investigators traced the threat to an Alexandria restaurant and determined Rust’s computer was connected to Wi-Fi there.

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