No Charges Sought in Cross Incidents


The man suspected of planting charred crosses displaying Ku Klux Klan literature on dirt lots in Palmdale will not face criminal charges for the time being, authorities said Tuesday.

“Due to the individual’s mental capacity and that we haven’t located any victims, we’re going to hold off,” said Det. Steven Lankford of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Palmdale station. “As of right now, no charges will be filed, pending further investigations.”

Jose Angel Martinez, 33, of Palmdale, was still in custody as of Tuesday late afternoon.

Martinez was arrested Sunday on suspicion of terrorizing the owner or occupant of a property after sheriff’s deputies found two charred wooden crosses bearing the letters KKK and a flier explaining the symbolism of the cross to the white supremacy group.


Martinez is known in Palmdale for his bizarre behavior, authorities said.

After his arrest, Martinez told authorities he was not a Klan member, Lankford said. Family members have told officials that Martinez had a history of mental problems.

Although the incident is not regarded as a hate crime, it opens wounds in a community trying to come to terms with a “history of hate incidents,” said Darren Parker, president of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force.

Parker cited as examples the beating death of a black man by skinheads and a racially motivated attack earlier this year on a Wal-Mart employee in Lancaster.