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Tampa man pleads guilty to threatening Muslim couple

An Indian couple trying to buy this house at 632 Luzon Ave. on Davis Islands in Tampa pulled out of the sale after a hostile encounter with a neighbor that has now led to a federal criminal charge and a plea agreement. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
An Indian couple trying to buy this house at 632 Luzon Ave. on Davis Islands in Tampa pulled out of the sale after a hostile encounter with a neighbor that has now led to a federal criminal charge and a plea agreement. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
Published Feb. 27, 2018

TAMPA — A Tampa man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal civil rights charges, admitting he threatened to burn down a neighboring home on Luzon Avenue in Davis Islands when he learned it would soon be sold to a Muslim family.

David H. Howard, 59, was charged with one count of threatening, intimidating and interfering with the family's housing rights, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Howard now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release. He may also be fined up to $250,000 at a sentencing hearing that has yet to be scheduled, court documents said.

In court, Howard confirmed his temper flared on Nov. 3, 2016, when he watched a real estate agent lead a Muslim couple of Indian descent and the couple's parents through a final walk-through of the neighboring $658,000 home they had placed under contract.

Howard threatened to break the windows and burn the house down as he approached the group, yelling, "This sale will not take place" and "You are not welcome here," the release said. The couple, dressed in traditional Muslim and Indian attire, quickly left the home and backed out of purchasing it in a closing scheduled for the next day.

Contact Anastasia Dawson
at adawson@tampabay.com
or (813) 226-3377. Follow
@adawsonwrites.

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