The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
The FBI is now investigating the August death of a black 17-year-old football player whose family and friends believe he may have been the victim of foul play in Bladenboro, N.C.
State investigators ruled the death of Lennon Lacy a suicide, but his family and many others in the community wonder if he was the victim of a lynching, The Washington Post reports in today’s editions.
In another stunning development today, Lacy’s former girlfriend, Michelle Brimhall, broke her silence and told Dailymail.com that she believes Lennon Lacy was murdered because of their interracial relationship.
“I believe Lennon was murdered,” Brimhall told the online news site.
The 31-year-old woman said she had been “targeted by racists during” because of her relationship with a black teenager almost half her age. Brimhall, who is now living in Illinois, “fled the town for her own safety,” the Daily Mail reported.
In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN Tonight, the victim’s mother, Claudia Lacy, said there are inconsistencies in the evidence surrounding her son’s death.
“Do you think his death could have been racially motivated?” Lemon asked Claudia Lacy. “It could have been,” she responded.
Her son recently had broken up with Brimhall, who had three children, an ex-husband and a drug history, according to media reports. Brimhall denied any involvement with drugs in her interview with the Daily Mail.
Still, there are questions and inconsistencies over the way the death scene was processed. The victim’s hands were not covered with plastic bags, which is normal protocol, so forensic pathologists can check for foreign DNA and other evidence.
Most disturbing, the mother said, is that her son had just left home wearing a new pair of Air Jordan shoes. But they were never located after his lifeless body was found on Aug. 28 hanging from a wooden swing set with two belts tied around his neck. The shoes on his feet were two sizes too small, without shoe laces, and they weren’t his.
“It’s not feasible,” Claudia Lacy told CNN. “Two sizes too small? Why?”
Her son was excited about the start of school and his first home football game on Aug. 29. Investigators found no suicide note. The autopsy report makes no mention of the missing shoes or those found on the body.
The victim’s mother and private attorney Allen Rogers, of Fayetteville, along with Rev. William J.Barber II, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, asked U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina to request the FBI investigation. There was a march supporting that effort last weekend in Bladenboro.
“We are glad to hear that the request made by the North Carolina NAACP and the family of Lennon Lacy for a federal investigation has been accepted,” Barber said, adding there is a need for “a thorough investigation.”
“There are too many questions and contradictions raised by our independent pathology report and stories in the community about the facts, quick conclusions, and how the death scene was not protected,” Barber said in a statement released to Hatewatch.
A Kansas prosecutor said today that he will seek the death penalty against Frazier Glenn Miller, the longtime neo-Nazi and former Ku Klux Klan leader accused of killing three people last spring at two Jewish facilities in suburban Kansas City.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe filed notice of his decision shortly after a judge ruled that Miller, who is 74 and suffering from lung disease that has put him in the jail infirmary for days at a time, is mentally competent to stand trial for the killing spree, according to the Kansas City Star.
Last month, around the time a Johnson County district judge was ordering the competency evaluation for Miller, the elderly white supremacis told the Star in a series of telephone interviews from jail that he was convinced he was dying at the time of the shootings and “wanted to make damned sure I killed some Jews or attacked the Jews before I died.”
None of the three people killed on that bloody Sunday in April – Terri LaManno, 53, William Lewis Corporon, 69 and Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood – was Jewish.
Miller told the paper that he went to Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan. – a community center and a care center – “for the specific purpose of killing Jews.”
“Because of what I did, Jews feel less secure,” he boasted to the paper. “Every Jew in the world knows my name now and what I did. As for these white people who are accomplices of the Jews, who attend their meetings and contribute efforts to empower the Jews, they are my enemy, too. A lot of white people who associate with Jews, go to Jewish events and support them know that they’re not safe either, thanks to me.”
Corporon and his young grandson were shot outside the Jewish Community Center, where the boy was scheduled to audition for a singing contest with scores of other teenagers.
Miller told the paper that as he drove away from the center, “I have never felt such exhilaration. …Finally, I’d done something.”
Miller said he then drove to the Village Shalom care center, where LaManno was killed just outside the facility. LaManno was there to visit her elderly mother.
“After I shot her,” Miller told the Star, “another woman came right behind the woman’s vehicle that I’d just shot. Right behind it, 15 feet from me. …I had the shotgun pointed at her head from about 12 feet. I said, ‘Are you a Jew?’ She said, ‘What?’ By the second time, she knew why I was asking. She screamed, ‘No.’ So, I let her live.”
After the killing spree and his arrest, Miller sat handcuffed in the back of the police car and shouted through the mental mesh covering the back window, “Heil Hitler.”
In court today, after filing a notice with the court that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Miller, the District Attorney placed a copy of the notice in front of Miller, who was dressed in a stripped inmate uniform and sitting in a wheelchair at the defense table but looking much healthier than in past court appearances.
“I don’t fear the death penalty,” Miller said, according to the Star. “I’m already dying.”
Police have arrested a 31-year-old white supremacist in connection with an ax murder last April of a fellow racist.
Christopher Paul Mason, of Phoenix, was arrested last Thursday. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond on murder charges related to the death of Joshua Calkins, 35, also of Phoenix, The Arizona Republic reported.
The newspaper, citing court records, reported that both men were affiliated with an unidentified white supremacist prison gang.
Calkins’ body, wrapped in plastic, was dumped in an alley in northwest Phoenix and found later on April 16. His hands were tied behind his back, and bloody towels and bleach were discarded nearby, police said.
Calkins had extensive trauma and was nearly decapitated, leading a medical examiner to conclude he had been killed with an ax. “Interviews conducted in the coming months with more than 20 people would lead investigators to believe that the medical examiner’s guess was exactly right,” the Arizona newspaper reported.
Mason admitted to witnesses later interviewed by police that he had killed Calkins, saying, “I got him 13 times with an ax,” according to court records. Mason allegedly told some of the witnesses that he killed Calkins because he had robbed Mason’s former girlfriend at gunpoint.
In 2006, Mason pleaded guilty to forgery after attempting to cash a $700 stolen check to support his methamphetamine addiction.
A 34-year-old Kansas City truck driver faces a first-degree murder charge and a federal hate crime investigation after authorities say he deliberately struck a teenager leaving a mosque with his SUV.
After his arrest, Ahmed H. Aden told police that he had been looking to kill several men who threatened him earlier, mistaking 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein for one of those men, the Kansas City Star reported.
The high school sophomore, who had just led evening prayers at his mosque on Thursday, was struck outside the Somali Center by a speeding Chevrolet Blazer, nearly severing his legs. He died a short time later at a hospital.
Mohamed Ahmed, 13, told the newspaper that the teenager “was leading our prayer, and then after that, he just went outside. He was going to the gym to meet his friends and play basketball. And then, he got hit.”
Prosecutors have charged Aden with armed criminal action, leaving the scene of an accident and unlawful use of a weapon. He is also the focus of a federal hate crimes probe, the newspaper reported.
Abdinajib Dirir, the victim’s uncle, said the family had emigrated from war-torn Somalia and was devastated by the loss.
“There are no words to describe,” he told Kansas City newspapers. “This is a community that fled a violent situation. Now we’re facing violence in the United States. … We are American like everyone else. And this is a tragedy for us.”
Members of the Somali community told the newspaper that the suspect had a history of making violent threats against Muslims and the mosque, occasionally even threatening the mass slaughter of worshipers. He had been interviewed by police, but apparently a case against him couldn’t be developed.
Moussa Elbayoumy, chairman of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a member of the mosque has a photo of Aden’s SUV with anti-Muslim graffiti reading, “Quran is a virus disease (worse) than Ebola.”
An Oregon detective whose actions jeopardized the prosecution of two white supremacists involved in a three-state murder rampage in 2011 has pleaded guilty to forgery and official police misconduct.
Det. Dave Steele entered the double guilty pleas last week in Marion County Circuit Court in Salem, Ore., where he was sentenced to concurrent sentences of 18-months of probation by Judge Jamese Rhoades, the Oregonian reported.
As part of a plea bargain, Steele also agreed to resign from the Oregon State Police and surrender his police certification, making him ineligible to get another law enforcement job, the newspaper reported.
Steele was the lead state investigator in a federal criminal case brought against David “Joey” Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, who were convicted of four murders in Washington, Oregon and California. The pair—targeting Jews and minorities—hoped to start a race war. Ultimately, they both entered guilty pleas in state court in Washington and federal court in Portland, Ore.
When they were sentenced earlier this year, senior U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty of Portland issued a blistering 63-page opinion criticizing the police investigator’s misconduct and federal prosecutors’ “laissez-faire” approach to their legal obligations in the case.
The judge said the case was “mishandled by the (federal) prosecution team… very nearly jeopardizing this case altogether.”
“The most egregious misconduct was committed by Detective Steele,” the judge said. The opinion said the detective “was directly responsible for destroying and withholding Brady material (from defense attorneys), failing to catalog and turn over discovery, backdating evidence reports, lying to the (U.S. Attorney’s Office) regarding this conduct, intercepting and listening to privileged defense communications and filing a false declaration with this court.”
The judge said the life-sentences given to both Pedersen and Grigsby were appropriate for the crimes committed and “there is no evidence that either defendants’ guilty plea was unfairly influenced by the government’s conduct in this case.”
The police misconduct triggered investigations by the FBI and the Oregon State Police, including a review of other state criminal cases in Oregon handled by Steele going back to 2001. It’s unclear if federal charges also will be filed against Steele.
The Portland newspaper reported that Oregon State Police did not comment on the case until Wednesday when the agency released a statement saying the department “has taken this matter seriously since becoming aware of it by placing Detective Steele on administrative leave in December 2013, and requesting an outside agency begin a criminal investigation.”
Antigovernment activist Bernard von NotHaus was convicted three years ago of counterfeiting for making and selling his own silver coins. Now he gets to create his own jail.
The 70-year-old antigovernment activist – called a numismatic gadfly by some – was sentenced this week to six months of home detention and three years of probation by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees of the Western District of North Carolina.
A federal judge in North Carolina has denied a motion to set aside the 2011 jury conviction of a Bernard von NotHaus, an antigovernment activist who minted and sold his own silver coins in competition with U.S. government.
The protracted and complex legal case attracted widespread interest from gold and coin enthusiasts, as well as antigovernment activists and antigovernment “sovereign citizens” who say the government cannot control them.
The 47-page ruling, filed Nov. 10 by U.S. District Judge Richard Vorhees, came three years after von NotHaus’ conviction in Asheville, N.C., and the filing of assorted post-trial motions, including an attempted legal intervention by Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc. The ruling on those motions, all rejected as baseless by the court, clears the way for von NotHaus’ sentencing next month.
After his conviction, the man who described himself as the “architect of the free-money movement” argued that federal laws under which he was charged are unconstitutional and that federal prosecutors didn’t present sufficient evidence showing he intended to violate counterfeit laws.
The 70-year-old founder of the so-called “Liberty Dollar Operation” minted his own silver coins that looked very much like U.S. silver dollars, intending them to be used as “private barter currency” for goods and services in direct competition with the Federal Reserve. He sold them to distributors in a Pyramid-style operation, accepting Federal Reserve greenbacks for the purchases, reportedly putting more than $20 million Liberty Dollars into circulation before being arrested by the FBI on federal counterfeiting and conspiracy charges.
The post-conviction motions, the judge said, presented “a question as to the scope and extent” of Congress’ exclusive power to coin money.
Von NotHaus argued his conviction “infringes on the public’s right to utilize private bartering systems” and that it is not illegal or counterfeiting for a private individual to compete with the Federal Reserve.
The judge said he was not ruling that private barter systems are illegal. He also said that while the Constitution doesn’t give Congress the exclusive right to coin money, it does “expressly prohibit” states from doing that.
“It is undisputed that Congress has the ability to enact comprehensive laws concerning the coinage of money, the value of money, and counterfeiting,” the judge’s ruling said.
Further, the judge ruled that Congress does indeed possess the power to make it illegal for someone like von NotHaus to mint coins—whether they resemble U.S. coins or are of original design—if they are intended for use in monetary transactions.
Vorhees order said the jury that heard the evidence against von NotHaus found that his Liberty Dollars were counterfeit and that he intended to break federal law by minting and selling them.
After earlier interest by the Secret Service, the FBI opened a criminal investigation in 2004 after the Asheville, N.C., police department got a report the State Employees Credit Union that someone had attempt to “pass a coin that looked similar to United States coinage.”
The judge said the jury that heard the case “was in a position to evaluate the specific and fine points of the Liberty Dollars” before unanimously concluding they were counterfeit and that von NotHaus intended to break federal law.
“There is a heavy burden to prove that a jury’s verdict and findings of facts are wrong,” the judge said, denying von NotHaus’ motions to set aside his convictions or grant a new trial.
While operating the Royal Hawaiian Mint in the late 1990s, von NotHaus founded “The National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code” or NORFED. To circumvent laws, he also started the Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu, where he called himself the “high priest.”
But it was his Liberty Dollar operation that captured national headlines as von NotHaus claimed NORFED would compete with the Federal Reserve System just like FedEx does with the U.S. Postal Service.
He later moved its headquarters to Evansville, Ind., Later, where he teamed with James W. Thomas, publisher of Media Bypass, a now-defunct magazine popular with antigovernment “Patriots,” sovereign citizens and extremists with anti-Semitic agendas.
NORFED issued and circulated five coins in one, five, ten, twenty and fifty dollar denominations. The Liberty Dollars, marked as “America’s inflation-proof currency,” were minted at Sunshine Minting, Inc. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
While the coins actually contained silver, trial evidence showed von NotHaus and his operation would recall and re-mint the coins if the “average spot price” of that precious metal exceeded the face value of a particular coin.
“We never refer to the American Liberty as a coin,” von NotHaus said in an interview in 1999. “The word ‘coin’ is a government-controlled term. This is currency that is free from government control.”
“When the people own the money, they control the government,” he said. “When the government owns the money, it controls the people.”
The leader of the American Front—once facing 30 years in prison—received a sentence of just six-months last week for teaching firearms and combat skills to his neo-Nazi followers, described as a heavily-armed, white supremacy militia.
The sentencing of Marcus “Mark” Faella on Nov. 10 in Kissimmee, Fla., was an anti-climatic end to what had been the largest domestic terrorism case ever prosecuted in that state. He was convicted by a jury in September.
The judge denied a request from defense attorney Ronald L. Ecker II to reverse Faella’s conviction on the grounds the jury was prejudiced by a “political flier” showing masked American Front members posing with assault weapons and a Molotov cocktail.
Faella, 41, likely will be released from jail within four months, but he will serve two years of “community control” with 24-hour electronic monitoring and 10 years probation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The neo-Nazi leader, his wife, Patricia, and 11 other members of the American Front were arrested in May 2012 after police raided what court documents described as a fortified training compound on 10-acres owned by the couple near St. Cloud, Fla.
The arrests came after police raided what court documents described as a fortified compound near St. Cloud, Fla., where Faella and his wife, Patricia, 39, were accused of conducting illegal paramilitary training, attempting to shoot into an occupied dwelling and prejudice while committing a crime. Some of the combat training, authorities said, was carried out by an American Front member who was a military reservist from Missouri.
But, for reasons that have never been fully explained, the case began to fall apart shortly after the handcuffs were slapped on the suspects. Last April, prosecutors moved to dismiss charges against nine of the American Front members. The FBI said it was a state case, while local authorities said it was a federal investigation. One apparent weakness in the prosecution’s case involved a surveillance video released to defense attorneys who said the tape didn’t show any crimes being committed.
A judge in Kansas has ordered a mental competency evaluation for Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a former neo-Nazi and KKK leader accused of assassinating three people last April at two Jewish community facilities in Kansas.
Johnson County District Judge Kelly Ryan ordered the evaluation Wednesday at the request of defense attorneys who filed the motion just before a planned preliminary hearing for Miller, who is also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, the Kansas City Star reported in today’s editions.
The mental exam will attempt to determine if Miller, 73, of Aurora, Mo., is competent to aid in his own defense if the death-penalty case proceeds to a jury trial. If he’s found mentally incompetent, he will be sent to the Larned State Hospital in Kansas and could be held there indefinitely or until he is found competent, the newspaper reports.
The defense request for the competency examination came Wednesday as prosecutors were ready to present probable cause evidence against Miller in an attempt to convince the court there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
After postponing that hearing, the judge scheduled a Dec. 18 hearing to discuss results of the competency evaluation. The delay prompted an outburst from Miller who said he wanted a speedy trial, the newspaper reported.
“Too long. Way too long,” Miller said in court. “I don’t want it drawn out.”
Miller is charged with capital murder for the gunshot killings of Terri LaManno, 53, William Lewis Corporon, 69, and Reat Griffin Underwood, 14. If convicted, the 73-year-old life-long racist faces the death penalty.
Miller, an avowed anti-Semite, mistakenly thought he was shooting Jews when, in fact, all three victims were Christians.
After the shootings, the FBI searched Miller’s home and found a copy of Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf, three boxes of ammunition, a red t-shirt with a swastika symbol and a file folder titled, “Going underground and declaring war against the government.”
He also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly shooting at three other people during the gun rampage on April 13 outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom care center in Overland Park, Kansas. In addition, he is charged with aggravated assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied building.
Miller reportedly is gravely ill with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Earlier this year he reportedly told fellow racist Craig Cobb that he has “one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel.”
Gunshots were fired today at a mosque in Coachella, Calif., about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, but no one was injured, authorities reported.
Four people were praying inside the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque when shots were fired about 5 a.m., striking the building and a car parked outside, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Andrew Shouse told the Desert Sun newspaper.
“A reasonable person would believe when a mosque is targeted, a hate crime may be occurring,” the sheriff’s official said at the scene of the shooting.
Salah Salah, a member of the mosque’s board, expressed concern over the shooting and the initial lack of a suspect.
“Somebody drunk? Something crazy? Nothing ever happened here before,” Salah told the newspaper, adding: “We are concerned about our safety, our security.”
The 16-year-old mosque has about 90 members.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has asked the FBI to investigate.
“Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack,” CAIR chapter executive director Hussam Ayloush said.