The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Neo-Nazi Pleads in Firebombing of Interracial Couple’s Home

By Bill Morlin on August 30, 2011 - 1:34 pm, Posted in Anti-Black, Extremist Crime, Neo-Nazi

A neo-Nazi skinhead who once hung a black Ken doll with a noose around its neck on his porch has pleaded guilty to federal civil rights and firearms charges associated with the late-night firebombing of an interracial couple’s home in Arkansas.

Jason Walter Barnwell, described as the leader of a “combat division” of the skinhead gang Blood & Honour, faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 20.

The 37-year-old skinhead from Evening Shade, Ark., said he didn’t make a very good “domestic terrorist” when he pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court in Little Rock to one count of federal civil rights conspiracy and companion charges of use of fire during a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Barnwell and four other suspects were arrested by the FBI and indicted by a grand jury for Jan. 14 firebombing of the home of an interracial couple in Hardy, Ark.  The incident occurred during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

The couple, a black man and a white woman, safely fled their burning home after awakening to the sound of breaking glass caused when burning Molotov cocktails were thrown through their living room window. The male victim, who ran outside, identified Barnwell, who was yelling racial slurs while looking for his lighter in the darkness, authorities said.

After accepting Barnwell’s guilty pleas, U.S. District Court Judge Bill Wilson asked the tattoo-covered skinhead what motivated the firebombing.

“The majority of my motivation would be disrespect,” Barnwell responded, according to a report published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “That’s not to say race wasn’t a part of it.”

Barnwell said he caught his hand on fire during the firebombing: “It doesn’t make me out to be a competent domestic terrorist,” he told the judge.

He has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2005 arrest in North Carolina when police found him with 400 rounds of ammunition and an assault rifle nearby. A report detailing that arrest described Barnwell as agitated and threatening to kill black people.

At an earlier detention hearing, an FBI agent testified that he saw a black Ken doll with a noose around its neck handing from Barnwell’s front porch, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Barnwell also was linked to a May 2010 incident in Batesville, Ark., when a black man was surrounded by four men who jumped out of a car and threatened him.

When FBI agents searched Barnwell’s home following his arrest in March, they found firearms, bullets and neo-Nazi literature and paraphernalia.

Because he has at least three prior violent felony convictions, Barnwell faces a minimum mandatory term of 15 years in federal prison as an “armed career criminal.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White described Barnwell in court as a “historically devout racist” who hosted a weekend beer-drinking gathering of skinheads, including two skinhead recruits, Dustin Hammond, 20, of Evening Shade, and Jake Murphy, 19, of Waldron, Ark.

At Barnwell’s direction, the four men got in a car and drove to the victims’ home in rural Sharp County, White told the court. Barnwell, Hammond and Murphy each threw beer bottles filled with burning gasoline and stuffed with rags into the victims’ home, while Dodson remained in the car, the federal prosecutor said.

Hammond and Murphy pleaded guilty in June to federal civil rights violations and each were sentenced to 54 months in prison. Another defendant, Wendy Treybig, an Evening Shade resident described by authorities as Barnwell’s girl friend, pleaded guilty in June to obstructing justice and is awaiting sentencing.

All four could be called as witnesses in the Oct. 25 trial of the only remaining defendant in case, Gary Don Dodson, 32, of Waldron, Ark., who was described by authorities as a leader of the skinhead group.

  • Danielle Hammond

    Why do you think that someone who is married to a biracial person would do something so stupid? It may not have been the best relationship but you shouldn’t go bombing peoples houses to fit in with the racists… just saying.

  • kate

    Latrell:

    Let me rephrase: the inter-racial couple didn’t bother anyone. They were exercising their right to live in peace anywhere they please.

    the racist yahoos have a problem and they need to get it fixed and apparently so do you?

    The light sentence is not a surprise coming out of Arkansas.

  • Latrell

    @tyrone

    So what you’re saying is, that the mixed-race couple shouldn’t have bothered the White Nationalists by moving-in?

  • Kate De Braose

    You are talking about people who want to be placed in good positions at easy work and to be accepted by society just because they exist. Of course they do not blame themselves for being the misfits that they are. They have been taught to believe that Jim Crow was a great institution and they want that preference back just because of their skin color.
    Male gang members are all possessed by the same idiotic ideas that they should be preferred over anyone else just because they are loud and jealous braggarts..

  • jwd

    Jealousy and envy. Self hate. Who knows what makes these losers click. Furthermore who cares. They’re gutless criminals and should be treated as such.

  • tyrone mixon

    So sick of these effing cowards I don’t know what to do. If you leave people alone, then people will keep their feet outta your ass.

  • Martha Wenstrand

    Short sentence makes no sense to me either. I am discouraged that people still feel this way about interracial couples.

  • Jesse

    It just depends on the situation, maybe they were just trying to burn the house down and not kill them. That has got to be what the jury believed or it was an all White jury…or a judge that’s sympathetic with the accused?

  • Paul

    “Hammond and Murphy pleaded guilty in June to federal civil rights violations and each were sentenced to 54 months in prison.”

    This one stumps me folks. How do you get just 54 months in prison for attempted murder? Maybe the bottles were filled with light beer. Light sentence, light beer…I don’t know.