The flames of hate rarely relight a dimming flicker of love, but L.B. Williams of Panama City decided to stage a fake KKK-style cross burning in his front yard as a last-ditch effort to get his wife to call off their planned divorce. Instead, the bizarre romantic scheme ended with Williams behind bars.
Williams, a 50-year-old black man, has been married to his white wife Donna for seven years, but the couple has history that goes back further. They have a daughter and a grandchild.
Donna had recently began divorce proceedings, so L.B. hatched an ill-fated scheme to get her back: He'd pretend that the KKK wanted them to stay together, because, obviously, if there's one thing we know about the KKK, it's that they're big supporters of interracial marriage.
So on November 4, L.B. lit a cross on fire in the family's driveway.
"When I saw that cross burning, I was scared to death," Donna told the Panama City News Herald. "I was terrified... we all were."
Police were called and a hate crime investigation was opened.
Two days later, Donna found a strange note taped to her door. It was signed by the "KKK" and she says read something to the effect of, "They were watching us, I assumed me and the kids, and that I better not leave that [N-word]."
Realizing it was odd that a hate group would intervene in her marriage, and that the handwriting somewhat resembled that of her husband's, she realized what had happened: L.B. had staged the KKK drama.
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On Monday, Williams admitted to police he had staged the cross burning and was charged with "domestic violence, stalking, and exhibits that intimidate." He was released without bail.
Donna, however, won't be taking him back.
"He truly is a good man. He doesn't drink, he doesn't do drugs, and he works like a dog," she says. "We just can't be together."