Stoughton hate crime suspect's mother: "He's not a racist" - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports


Stoughton hate crime suspect's mother: "He's not a racist"

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 DEFOREST (WKOW) - The mother of a UW-Madison student arrested in connection with an April hate crime against an African American family in Stoughton defends her son's integrity.

"He's not a racist," Dawn Cimaroli of DeForest tells 27 News.

Stoughton Police officials say 21-Matthew Cimaroli was arrested Sunday for what authorities say was photocopying the lynching of two African-Americans from a text book, and sending it to the Hale family in Stoughton in April with the words, "You're days are numbered."

Police Chief Gregory Leck says DNA evidence linked Cimaroli to the letter. Leck says Cimaroli told investigators his motive for the letter was 18-year old Javon Hale's theft of money from a drug deal involving Cimaroli.

"He goes to UW-Madison, he's going to be a senior, he's active in the community," Dawn Cimaroli tells 27 News. Leck says Matthew Cimaroli has no criminal history.

Dawn Cimaroli tells 27 News says she's unaware of any drug use by her son, who she says is a fitness buff.

Cimaroli also says her son has not expressed any prejudice against people of color. "He's got pictures with some of the UW basketball team that are black. I mean he doesn't have a problem," Cimaroli says.

"He's not racist," Cimaroli tells 27 News.

The head of the Hale household, Harry Hale, tells 27 News he's also unaware of any drug activity by Javon Hale.

Hale tells 27 News it's a relief an arrest has been made after three, anxious months.

"They got him, appreciate it," Hale says. "Maybe we can get some sleep. It's been rough for us not sleeping, going outside looking over our shoulders, because we didn't know," Hale tells 27 News.

Shortly after the Hale family received the April threatening letter, and the police investigation was made public, dozens of Stoughton residents staged a vigil in the city's downtown to support the family. Hale tells 27 News he hopes the arrest in the case diminishes the chance any other family of color would be targeted for a hate crime.

Cimaroli says she's shocked and puzzled over what authorities say was her son's involvement with the racially threatening letter. Cimaroli says she's yet to speak to her son since his arrest and jailing, but has been told by police officials he's remorseful.

"I am so sorry for their family," Cimaroli says of the Hale family members.

Leck says police officials are recommending to the Dane County district attorney a felony threat to injure charge, with a hate crime enhancer against Matthew Cimaroli.





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