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A former University of Mississippi student could face up to a year in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to placing a noose on the school's statue of its first black student.

Austin Reed Edenfield waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge before U.S. District Judge Michael Mills in Oxford. The charge says Edenfield helped others to intimidate African-American students and employees at the university.

Mills will sentence Edenfield July 21, and he faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Prosecutors have recommended probation for Edenfield, who cooperated in the early prosecution of another former student, Graeme Phillip Harris. However, Mills warned Edenfield he might not stick to that agreement.

"The court remains free to impose whatever sentence it deems appropriate," Mills said.

A 21-year-old resident of Kennesaw, Georgia, Edenfield remains free pending sentencing. He declined comment after the hearing.

Edenfield admitted that he tied the noose that ended up around the neck of the Ole Miss statue of James Meredith in February 2014. He, Harris and a third person also draped a former Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle emblem on the statue of Meredith, who integrated Ole Miss in 1962 amid rioting that was suppressed by federal troops.


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