The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Despite his sister’s and ex-girlfriend’s dramatic testimony against him, Ross Hack, the alleged neo-Nazi mastermind behind the ambush murders of two anti-racist skinheads 16 years ago, was found not guilty today by a federal jury in Las Vegas.
Hack’s co-defendant, Leland Jones, was also acquitted after the two week trial that included testimony from an unlikely parade of white supremacists and meth addicts and at least one apparent Holocaust denier, who testified as a character witness for the defense.
The racially diverse jury deliberated for more than a day and a half before announcing its verdict around 9:30 a.m. local time.
The verdicts bring to a close a cold case revealing a hot war. For decades, racist and anti-racist skinheads have battled in the streets and music venues, often violently. Rarely, though, has the conflict resulted in murder, let alone a double murder as it did in a remote patch of sand and rocky dirt in the desert about 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, sometime between the last minutes of July 3 and the first minutes of July 4, 1998.
That’s when the anti-racist activists, Lin “Spit” Newborn and Daniel Shersty, were ambushed and shot to death, prosecutors say, by six neo-Nazi skinheads, including two women who lured the victims to the desert with the promise of a night of partying.
Also testifying against Hack and Jones was John “Polar Bear” Butler, the only one of the skinhead conspirators to be tried and convicted of the slayings. Butler, like the two women, said the ambush was Hack’s idea and Hack and Jones had in fact fired the first shots.
But there was no physical evidence, no fingerprints or DNA or CSI television show science to tie the defendants to the 16-year-old crime scene.
The not-guilty verdict was a blow to the government, which has a conviction rate in federal court of more than 90%. The verdict was a moment of pure elation for “the entire Hack family,” Hack’s lawyer, William Kennedy, a federal public defender, told Hatewatch today. “This has been hanging over Ross’ head for 16 years,” Kennedy said. “He didn’t plan it. He didn’t participate in it. He wasn’t there. He didn’t do it. And he’s always been not guilty.”
Jones’ lawyer, James Hartsell, told Hatewatch that the jurors obviously took the case “very seriously in how long it took them to deliberate.”
“They didn’t rush to judgment,” Hartsell said. “They considered all the evidence and or lack of evidence before rendering a verdict.”
During the trial, Kennedy repeatedly attacked the veracity of the government’s star witnesses, branding them a trio of liars and meth addicts, willing to say anything to reduce their time behind bars. Butler, with an extensive criminal record and a longtime addiction to meth, was convicted in state court of the murders in 2000. Now 44, he is serving two life sentences. ( continue to full post… )
LAS VEGAS – The tragedy of racial hatred was on full display in a federal courtroom here Monday as the prosecution rested its case against a pair of alleged neo-Nazis. They are accused of the ambush murders of two anti-racist skinheads 16 years ago in the desert on the outskirts of the city.
Melissa Hack, herself a neo-Nazi at the time of the killings, testified against her brother, Ross, the alleged mastermind of the ambush, as their mother and other relatives looked on from the back of the courtroom.
“My family is very upset with me,” Melissa Hack, a defendant in the case before she pleaded guilty last May and agreed to testify, told the court in a voice that went from whisper to wail during her more than two hours on the stand. “They don’t believe me because they think the FBI is trying to frame my entire family.”
The truth, she said, is that she knowingly lured the anti-racists – “our enemies” – to their deaths on a remote patch of sand and dirt where Ross Hack, his co-defendant Leland Jones, 33, and two other white supremacists shot to death Lin “Spit” Newborn, 24, and Daniel Shersty, 20, in the late night desert darkness of July 3, 1998.
“Ross, why,” Melissa Hack, 39, shouted from the witness stand Monday across the courtroom at her 42-year-old brother, gently rocking in his chair at the defense table. “Our lives are ruined. My mother’s life is ruined. The victims’ lives are ruined.
“Why?” she cried. “Because of fucking hate. That’s why.”
Jones and the Hacks were arrested and charged by federal authorities in 2012, 14 years after the murders.
Until now, Melissa Hack’s former boyfriend, John Butler, 43, a meth addict and neo-Nazi, was the only person tried in the slayings. He was arrested about 10 days after the killings. He was eventually convicted and was brought to court last week from prison, where he has been since 2001, serving two life sentences. He testified that Jones and Ross Hack, armed with pistols, fired the first shots. ( continue to full post… )
Members of the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) from three separate states have announced plans to travel to Ferguson, Missouri, to guard “white businesses” near riots that have erupted after a police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
“With blacks out of control, we have our Missouri Realm going to areas near Ferguson,” wrote Charles Murray, the group’s Imperial Wizard. “We can’t have blacks robbing and murdering innocent whites.”
This is only latest from the Klan, which has sought to capitalize on the violence and discord in Ferguson. Last week it announced that their members would travel to Sullivan, Missouri, to prepare for a fundraiser for “a cop who shot a nigger criminal.” The KKK group has not said which state’s chapters are heading to Missouri.
Two leaders of the racist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), who have followers in Boundary County, Idaho, and in nearby Bountiful, British Columbia, have been charged again with practicing polygamy.
Winston Kaye Blackmore, 57, and James Marion Oler, 49, were first charged in 2009, but those charges were dropped after a judge ruled a special prosecutor in the case had been hired improperly. But a judge ruled that Canada’s anti-polygamy law is valid and does not violate the group’s religious freedom, allowing the charges to be filed again last week. ( continue to full post… )
The one thing the racially charged and besieged city of Ferguson, Mo. does not need or want to add to the combustible mix of rubber bullets, snarling police dogs and clouds of tear gas that have filled its streets for three days is the Ku Klux Klan.
But the Klan –– desperate for publicity and any opportunity to spread hate and terror –– is climbing atop the powder keg that Ferguson has become following the police killing of an unarmed college-bound black teenager last Saturday.
The South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says its Missouri chapter is raising money for the still unidentified white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, who was scheduled to begin college classes this week.
“We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan group said in an email. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place. Most cops are cowards and do nothing while 90% of interracial crime is black (and non-white) on white.” ( continue to full post… )
Confessed murderer David “Joey” Pedersen, who killed four people including his father during a murderous rampage in 2011, says he regrets only one thing: being arrested before his racist revolution really got underway.
Pedersen, who was sentenced to two life-terms in prison on Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., offered no apologies for waging his racially motivated 10-day killing spree that started with the murders of Pedersen’s father and stepmother in Everett, Wash. Instead, the 34-year-old killer told the court that he could not sit by while “western identity is being destroyed” by other cultures.
“I offer no excuses because none are needed,” Pedersen told Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty, adding that he regretted being caught “before I really got underway,” The Oregonian reported. ( continue to full post… )
A public rally will be held Thursday evening at a Clarksville, Tenn., church, northwest of Nashville, where a cross burning last week is now being investigated as a hate crime.
The FBI has joined local police in the investigation of the cross burning reported July 22 at the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, which has a predominately black congregation. No arrests have been made.
“We are calling on the community to rally around this church,” State Rep. Joe Pitts, D-Nashville, who is organizing the 7 p.m. event, told Clarksville Online “Let us stand up as a community and say we will not tolerate this kind of hate,” said Pitts, himself a native of Clarksville.
A church member spotted the burned cross, propped against closed gates at the church, around 6 a.m. Pastor Vernon Hooks drove to the scene.
“It was devastating,” Hooks told the Tennessean. “I was somewhat hurt but then I took time out to ask God to forgive whoever did this.”
“Whoever did it, we forgive them,” Hooks told the newspaper. “That’s the message – that we are a forgiving church and we’ll let the police do their job.”
Sgt. Charles Gill of the Clarksville Police Department said the case was classified as a hate crime. “It was assigned to a detective but we have no leads,” the police official told the newspaper. “We’ve got nothing.”
Reached in Memphis, FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic told Hatewatch today that bureau agents are working closely with local police in the investigation, but there are no new developments to discuss.
Meanwhile, Pitts told Hatewatch that, contrary to some reports, he doesn’t think the cross burning is an act of vandalism by juveniles. The church, he said, is located near a freeway interchange that would have allowed for a quick escape.
“This doesn’t appear to me to be a random act of vandalism,” Pitts said. “If you look at the construction of the cross, these people have done this before or knew exactly what they were doing in a malicious, hateful way.”
The pastor said the church, with 200 active members, hasn’t received any threats or hate messages, and he has no idea who might be responsible.
“I’ve been here 34 years and this never has happened,” Hooks told the Nashville newspaper.
The pastor said the last time the church was the victim of a crime was four years ago when a burglary occurred.
“The individual that did it came back later on and confessed to me and brought money to cover what he had taken and we forgave him,” Hooks told the newspaper.
The ghosts of Mississippi cannot rest.
Three years after a middle-aged black auto plant worker named James Anderson was killed in Jackson, Miss., when he was deliberately run over by a gang of white suburban teenagers in a pickup truck, federal law enforcement officials announced yesterday a new round of criminal indictments in the case that shocked and embarrassed the state.
During the attack, which included a savage beating in a motel parking lot in the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, someone in the truck shouted “White Power.”
On Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials announced that three of the people believed to have been in the pickup – Louis Blalack, who is now 20, Sarah A. Graves, 21, and Shelbie B. Richards, 20 – have been charged “with a racially motivated hate crime resulting in the death of a victim run over by a truck.”
Along with another suspected member of the gang of white youths, Robert H. Rice, 23, the three were also charged, according to a federal news release, for their alleged “roles in a conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes against African-American people in Jackson, Mississippi.”
For weeks before Anderson, 49, was killed, the group had been cruising the nighttime streets of Jackson in a two-car caravan, hunting, harassing and hurting African Americans.
They often carried pistols and beer bottles. Their main targets were the homeless and the high. ( continue to full post… )
This is a story about race and the city. It is set in Chicago, but it could take place anywhere ignorance and prejudice stubbornly cling.
On Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, a 55-year-old white man, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 240 pounds, allegedly spit on and slapped a slightly built, elderly black woman, apparently for smoking a cigarette too close to him outside on a street in downtown Chicago.
The man, David Nicosia, undoubtedly did not realize – or even imagine – that the silver haired, 79-year-old black woman he mockingly called “Rosa Parks” when he violently confronted her was a civil rights pioneer and local icon in her own right.
Her name is Arnette Hubbard — or, as the bailiffs and lawyers who enter her courtroom call her, Judge Hubbard. She was first appointed to the Cook County circuit court bench in 1997, after a long career as a lawyer and advocate for civil rights and women’s issues.
“She’s more than an icon, she’s historic,” lawyer Geraldine Simmons told the Sun-Times. “She has been an inspiration to young attorneys for years.”
The judge was outside a downtown courthouse and office complex on Monday, having a smoke when she walked past Nicosia, the owner of an IT company, who reportedly holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University. ( continue to full post… )
A Louisiana businessman faces up to a year in jail and a maximum $100,000 fine after admitting in federal court Wednesday that he assaulted two black women working as Hurricane Isaac relief workers in 2012.
Josh Jambon, 52, of Grand Isle, La., pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to two counts of federal civil rights violations. Sentencing was set for October.
The boat rental and offshore-supply company owner admitted assaulting two female African-American Hurricane Isaac relief workers on Sept. 18, 2012, because of their race and because of their employment status. The assault was caught on video.
Today on Facebook, the businessman admitted “I lost my cool” before responding to what he described as a “media blitz of my episode.”
In the post laced with misspellings, Jambon said:
i have family and friends of different race and IM FIRM when i say im NOT a Racist !!! i will argue till im dead that im not a Racist.. I look for no recognition for what i do for the schools , private help , adavancement of people that want to get ahead in life . I challange anyone to attempt to do what ive done for minority orphanges in west africe [sic] as well as with in the US. Yes , i used racial comments but only after i was attacked with racial slurs.
His posting continued:
I stand on my story of TRUTH and Honesty.. The TRUE story will come out in the end and the liberals of the world will say im a liar. i travel the world and believe me there is another side to the story that the US media never presents . I hold truth to the honesty of the fFederal Government that they will handel [sic] this correctly and with dignity regardless of my white race.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Jambon was upset about damage to his property that he believed had been caused by a different crew and asked to speak to a supervisor. ( continue to full post… )