Kim Dunlap, Kokomo Tribune, June 4, 2019
A Greentown woman who police say admittedly left a racist letter at the home of a family with a biracial son was sentenced to 180 days of unsupervised probation during a change of plea hearing in Howard County Superior Court 3 on Tuesday.
As part of the plea agreement, Deborah Cantwell, 63, was also ordered to attend counseling for what was referred to as her “biases.”
Cantwell pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and harassment during Tuesday’s hearing, each carrying probation terms of 180 days. But since the sentences will run concurrently — at the same time — Cantwell’s probation period will be complete after 180 days. Another misdemeanor charge of intimidation was dismissed.
The sentencing stems from incidents in October 2018 in which the father of a 15-year-old boy contacted a Howard County Sheriff’s Department deputy and stated that his family’s Greentown home had been toilet-papered and a racist letter was left attached to his door, court records stated at the time.
The typed letter, in which Cantwell later admitted to police she was responsible for, was left in all caps and read, “Your N—– Kid Is Not Welcome,” with other details specifying her desire to have a “white neighborhood,” police reports noted.
After accepting the plea agreement, [Judge Doug] Tate began to talk about the case in general, calling it interesting. He then addressed Cantwell, who was quietly standing in front of the bench.
“Ma’am, I don’t know what’s going on in your head,” he said, “but you have got to change.”
Telling her to give people a chance, Tate also told Cantwell that there is no place in society for hatred.