Phelps County grand jury indicts custodian on hate crime charge
PHELPS COUNTY - A Phelps County grand jury has indicted 44-year-old Johnnie A. Landis on a class D felony charge of harassment. Prosecutors charged Landis with the hate crime after allegations he made a noose, threatening to hang a coworker at the St. James R-1 School District June 16.
The NAACP called for a federal investigation on behalf of the victim, fellow custodian Palmer E. Hubbard, Jr. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had hoped the investigation would lead to a charge of discrimination.
Hubbard said he had been a victim of racist remarks for years that had not been addressed by supervisors.
The district placed Landis on unpaid administrative leave Oct. 3, but was allowed to return to work at a different facility in the district the week of Oct. 15.
Landis is scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing Nov. 18.