A Mississippi man was arrested for targeting people of the Jewish faith in the region with threats, according to federal court papers unsealed Thursday.
U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Jacqueline Romero announced that Donavon Parish, 28, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was arrested and charged by indictment on charges of cyberstalking and communicating interstate threats.
A grand jury indicted Parish in late June, which led to an arrest warrant being filed.
Federal authorities alleged that in April 2022 and May 2022 Parish used a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service to make a series of phone calls to synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses region and beyond. The exact locations and names of the places of worship and businesses were not listed in court filings.
In the calls, Parish spoke to those answering the calls and repeatedly referenced the genocide of approximately six million Jewish people during the Holocaust, according to the indictment.
Between the period of April 24, 2022 and April 29, 2022, Parish is alleged to have called one Jewish-owned business 15 times. He reportedly told the person who answered the phone “Heil Hitler” and “all Jews must die.”
The indictment said Parish called a synagogue and repeatedly told them: “We will put you all in work camps.”
Federal authorities said Parish also said “gas the Jews,” “Hitler should have finished the job,” and “burn all the Jews” in calls.
Parish was arrested after an investigation by the FBI, federal prosecutors in the Philadelphia area, and the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counter Terrorism Section. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and federal prosecutors in Mississippi assisted.
Parish, if convicted, could face a maximum possible sentence of 50 years behind bars,three years of supervised release, a $2.5 million fine, and a $1,000 special assessment.
The Anti-Defamation League released data in spring that showed antisemitic incidents in America grew by 36 percent in 2022. The report also found that threats toward Jewish synagogues and religious schools have increased.
The FBI reported in March that they noted a 12 percent uptick in hate crimes reported to the agency from 2020 to 2021.
Editor’s Note: All individuals arrested or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The story was compiled using information from police and public court documents.