The FBI has surrounded the home of a South Carolina couple accused of harassing their black neighbors and burning a cross across from their home in their backyard.
Worden Butler, 28, and Alexis Paige Hartnett, 27, of Conway, are charged with second-degree harassment after allegedly shouting racial slurs at their neighbors, leaving them fearing for their lives.
Federal agents were at the white couple's home conducting a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial discrimination WMBF.
They were arrested last month after allegedly erecting a burning cross across from the home of retired couple Shawn and Monica Williams.
Hartnett, who works as a crystal healer according to her social media profiles, is accused of “using racial slurs, threatening bodily harm and referencing the fact that she has murdered a black woman in the past” on Thanksgiving.
Worden Butler, 29, and Alexis Paige Hartnett, of Conway, Horry County, have been charged with second-degree harassment for the shocking incident that officers say left their black neighbors fearing for their lives. (Photo: the accused couple)
Alleged victims Monica and Shawn Williams (pictured with WCNC) said their neighbors repeatedly called them the N-word and made them fear for their lives
A South Carolina couple has been arrested after allegedly burning a cross outside their black neighbor's home in what police say was a racially motivated crime
Meanwhile, Butler allegedly shared the address of the Williams – who are both veterans – on Facebook, saying he had “summoned the devil's army into their home.”
“I'm about to make them pay,” Butler said in the post. “They come on vacation to argue with me.”
The alleged incidents began on November 23 when Butler approached Monica Williams about work she had been doing at her family home.
Butler entered the property with Hartnett to “try to intervene in the work that was being done,” the Williams said.
The next night, tensions escalated when the crazy couple 'raised a cross' in their garden opposite Williams' home.
When emergency responders from the Horry County Police Department and Fire Department showed up, Hartnett “repeatedly used racial slurs toward the victims' family,” which were captured on police bodycam footage, according to the warrant.
Police say her words were “intended to put the victims in fear of assault, bodily harm and/or death.”
Officers noted that the white couple's behavior became “more frequent and threatening.”
Monica Williams said Butler and Hartnett used the N-word “over and over again” toward her and her husband and told them they “needed to get out of here.”
Hartnett and Butler live in a dilapidated bungalow (pictured) on Corbett Drive
Hartnett and Butler have been granted bail. The alleged victims, who have to live next door, described the pair as “dangerous” and called their release pending trial “incredible.”
“It's been traumatic for my entire family because they had to witness this,” she told WCNC.
Shawn Williams said they bought their home two years ago as a retirement home, but have been so plagued by constant torment from their neighbors that they are considering moving.
“It's a place where I should be able to relax, but I can't relax in an environment where I have to be constantly aware,” he told WCNC.
“I don't want it to happen to anyone on any side of the fence,” he added. “The issue of safety and security has been broken; the issue of fear and intimidation now arises.”
South Carolina is one of two U.S. states without a law allowing additional penalties for hate crimes that target people based on their race, religion, gender or other background.