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White supremacist twins Dennis and Daniel Mahon went on trial today in Phoenix, charged with mailing a package bomb in 2004 that exploded and injured a black man who was a city official in Scottsdale.
The 61-year-old longtime racists were arrested in 2009 after a five-year undercover investigation involving an attractive female informant who put a Confederate flag in her window and ultimately befriended the Mahons.
The informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also gave two sexually provocative pictures to the Mahons in a successful attempt to win their trust and attention. In one of the pictures, the ATF informant wore a white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a Nazi swastika.
As the friendship flourished, the woman’s conversations with the Mahons were secretly recorded, providing federal investigators with a possible road map to unsolved bombings, court records disclose.
In conversations with the woman, Dennis Mahon showed her how to make bombs and bragged about bombing a Jewish community center, an abortion clinic, an Internal Revenue Service building and an immigration facility. He also talked to the informant about the Scottsdale bombing, claiming he didn’t do it but that he assisted white police officers who did. His claims about the other bombings have not been corroborated, but likely have provided leads for federal investigators, according to various media accounts.
The Mahons are both charged with conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosive. Dennis Mahon also is charged with malicious damage of a building by means of explosive and distribution of information related to explosives.
The investigation also snared Robert Joos Jr., an antigovernment zealot and pastor of a church of “apocalyptic Christians.” He is serving a 78-month federal prison sentence after being convicted in January 2010 in Springfield, Mo., of being a felon in possession of firearms and a felon in possession of explosives.
The Mahons also have past ties to Thomas Metzger and his white supremacist White Aryan Resistance (WAR). While his name surfaced in the Scottsdale bombing investigation, Metzger has not been charged criminally.
The undercover investigation began after a cardboard box was sent to the Scottsdale Office of Diversity and Dialogue, addressed to the office’s director, Donald Logan. When Logan opened the box on Feb. 26, 2004, it exploded, severely burning his arms and damaging his fingers. His assistant, Renita Linyard, was seriously injured, and another employee, Jacque Bell, suffered minor injuries.
While discussing the Scottsdale bombing, Dennis Mahon said he “just wanted to teach (Logan) a lesson the first time.”
Dennis Mahon also is accused of making a call to the diversity office in September 2003 and saying, “the white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There’s a few white people who are standing up.”
In pretrial motions, Mahon’s defense attorney, Milagros Cisneros, argued that Mahon was merely boasting in an attempt to impress the woman who had infatuated him.
Cisneros and other defense attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to get the criminal charges dismissed on the grounds that use of the seductive informant amounted to outrageous government conduct, entrapment and coercion. The judge denied those motions after federal prosecutors said the government informant never kissed or had sex with either brother.
Before moving to Arizona, the Mahons lived in Tulsa, Okla., in the 1990s, and Dennis Mahon was a Ku Klux Klan grand dragon in Oklahoma.
Dennis Mahon’s name also surfaced during a grand jury investigation of the Oklahoma City federal building bombing on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people. Dennis Mahon became a person of interest after a woman claimed she overheard him and a German national discussing bombing federal buildings months before the deadly bombing of the Murrah Building.
Opening statements in the Mahon brothers’ trial are scheduled Thursday, and the trial is expected to last two months.