On July 23, Spivey and her real estate agent had met at the Kingston home to go over documents, but on Sunday evening, Spivey, who is black, received a call informing her the residence had been vandalized -- "KKK" spraypainted in large black letters across the garage doors and a rear exterior wall.
"One of the neighbors told me this is the second time this has happened in two years to the exact same house," she said. "It's ridiculous, it's awful. This was my chance to buy my first home, and I like the neighborhood and everything and then that happens.
"Of course I'm not going to live there because it's like, 'OK, well, if I move here, they've forewarned me. Will they burn the house down while I'm in it? Will they be burning a cross in my front yard? What's next?'"
Spivey, who purchased the home through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has withdrawn from the purchase and is working to have HUD refund her deposit.
Spivey's outrage extends beyond the loss of the home.
"I'm back at square one looking at something else," she said. "I think word needs to get out that [this type of hate crime] is still going on in 2011. This is ridiculous."
While the state of Georgia does not have a hate crime statute, the Federal Bureau of Investigation can be called in certain cases. The FBI defines a hate crime as "a traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism with an added element of bias," according to the bureau's website, www.fbi.gov.
"For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a 'criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation,'" the website stated. "Hate itself is not a crime -- and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties."
"In my opinion, hate crimes are designed to protect citizens from becoming victims of criminal activity motivated by bias or discrimination," said Bartow County Sheriff's Office Investigator Sgt. Jonathan Rogers. "Many states have hate crime legislation, but there are several, including Georgia, that do not."
In 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the state's hate crime law, calling it vague and overly broad. As one of five states without a statute, local law enforcement lacks the authority to investigate an incident alleged to be a hate crime.
"In the case of Ms. Spivey, the obvious charge is criminal trespass, which covers intentional damage under $500," Rogers said. "Criminal damage to property second degree covers property damage that exceeds $500. In some cases, there may be evidence discovered that may lead to charges of terroristic threats and acts if there is some sort of threat intended by the damages or graffiti."
Spivey believes she was targeted.
"There are six houses on that street before you get to mine that are empty, vacant, ... for sale, and they saw the one we were looking at and decided to put KKK on it," she said. "Come on! Only in Georgia I guess."
Earlier this year, the Islamic Center of Cartersville was twice the target of vandals, who smashed windows with rocks and bricks. The FBI was called in to handle those investigations.
"As for the incidents that recently occurred at the Islamic center in Cartersville, it was a case of bias-based damage caused to property and would likely be classified as a hate crime," Rogers said. "Based on the rocks that were thrown through the windows of the center having writings on them, it appeared that the offender was targeting the victims because of their religious beliefs."
"As an investigator assigned to follow up on these type cases, the most important thing to do is to gather any evidence available. There may be video or photographic evidence of the offenders or there may be discarded evidence in the area, such as spraypaint cans or the like," he continued. "Another available option is the neighborhood canvas where investigators question persons in or near the area of the crime for possible information to pursue or identify the offenders."
Rogers said based on a neighborhood canvas, Kingston Pointe was determined to be a diverse neighborhood with adolescents most likely responsible. The canvas did, however, reveal other incidents of graffiti and vandalism.
"It was uncovered that there have been other cases of spray paint being sprayed in yards of other neighbors, though it was not reported to law enforcement."
Spivey, who will continue her home search, offered advice to others in her situation.
"Know the area. Get to know the area, [and] before you make any decisions, talk to the neighbors. No matter how nice the neighborhood is, talk to at least one or two people," she said, adding "I am very discouraged and very disappointed."
The investigation continue into Spivey's case and the vandalism at the Islamic Center of Cartersville. Anyone with information is asked to contact Rogers at 770-382-5050, ext. 6032, or to remain anonymous, call Cartersville-Bartow County Crimestoppers at 770-606-8477.