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UPDATE: Man arrested in Stoughton hate crime case

 
Posted July 14th, 2014 @ 10:55am by 1310 WIBA Newsroom/ NBC 15

UPDATED Monday, July 14, 2014 ---

Stoughton Police have arrested a man who allegedly sent a threatening letter to a family.

In April of 2014, the Hale family received a letter that depicted the lynching of two young black men in a historical text book photo. The letter had type written wording that read “Your Days Are Numbered.” Police say the letter was apparently directed toward one family member.

Stoughton Police arrested 21-year-old Matthew Cimaroli of Deforest on July 13th. He was arrested for felony threats to injure or accuse with a hate crime enhancer.

Police say Cimaroli said he sent the letter intending it for a younger Hale family member. He reportedly told officers he was upset over the theft of money from a drug transaction.

Officers say Cimaroli was identified as a suspect in the case in May, but investigators needed to wait for forensic evidence to be processed.

Cimaroli is expected in court Monday.

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 23, 2014 --- 6:38 p.m.

A Stoughton couple receives a threatening letter, targeting their son for a hate crime, and now they're hoping the community comes together to find answers on who's responsible.

Harry and Hester Hale say last week they received a letter that was targeting Harry's son; and now they, along with community members are coming together to let others know they're not going to allow it.
Harry says his son has never done anything to provoke this type of behavior and really has no idea who would be responsible for it. One thing he does know however is that his son may have been targeted because of his race. He adds, "It had two African Americans being lynched and a congregation of people at the bottom of the tree. And then the message was this is what's going to happen to you next."

Stoughton police say this is still a very active and open investigation. Detectives have taken the letter to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for processing and have also been in touch with the FBI and the US Postal Service. Community members walked all the way to Harry's house Wednesday night, hoping to bring awareness to the case as well as some answers.
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Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014 -- 12:20 p.m.

In a news release obtained by NBC 15 today, Stoughton Police say detectives have taken the letter to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for processing. They've also been in touch with the FBI and the US Postal Service.

In the release, police say Stoughton Mayor Donna Olson and Police Chief Greg Leck publicly pledge to prosecute whoever is responsible to the full extent of the law, saying this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

Stoughton Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 608-873-3374.
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Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014 -- 10:00 p.m.

Harry and Hester Hale live in a small apartment in Stoughton.

They've been there for six years -- tonight, I stopped by right around dinner time.

So far, they say it's been peaceful, but they couldn't believe their eyes when they checked their mail yesterday.

"He unfolded the paper and it had two black guys hanging from a tree with a rope around their neck, and under the picture it stated...'this is what's going to happen next'," Hester said.

One of those guys was photoshopped as Harry's son.

"You don't expect something like that when you come home, or go in your mailbox," Harry said, adding that he doesn't think "anybody deserves that".

Harry's son, who doesn't want to be shown or named, lives in Sun Prairie with his mom.

He says he's scared.

"I don't do anything to anybody," he said.

"It's just like, terrifying, like now I have to worry about me and my family's life," he added.

Hester, Harry, and his son have questions.

"Why? Why do you feel this way?," Hester and Harry both asked.

Stoughton Police is investigating the case, but did not respond to inquires for more information this afternoon.

Criminal defense attorney Chris Van Wagner told me over the phone that the DA could charge the sender of the letter with a Class B Misdemeanor for disorderly conduct if caught.

The DA can seek an "enhanced sentence" if he can prove that the letter was sent based on racial bias, which would carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison.

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