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 nightmare has happened again.
A massive manhunt continued today for a suspected antigovernment sniper and survivalist who allegedly gunned down a Pennsylvania state trooper and seriously wounded a second trooper during a shift change on Sept. 12.
It is at least the third deadly ambush of North American police officers by apparent antigovernment extremists since the beginning of the summer. The attacks have left six officers dead from Canada to Las Vegas.
On June 4, three Canadian police officers were lured to a subdivision in the province of New Brunswick and shot and killed by a heavily armed man who slipped away into a knot of dense woods. The suspect, who had a history of posting numerous hardcore pro-gun and anti-police statements on his Facebook page, was captured after schools, businesses and public transportation were shut down.
A few days later in Las Vegas, a man and wife who harbored antigovernment views ambushed two police officers as they ate lunch in a pizza restaurant. The couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller, also shot to death a bystander in a nearby Wal-Mart, where they made their last stand. Police shot and killed Jerad Miller. Amanda Miller took her own life.
Last Friday, shortly before 11 p.m., Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, of the Pennsylvania state police was shot and killed as he walked towards his patrol car, which was parked in front of the Blooming Grove police barracks in rural northeastern Pennsylvania. Moments later, as he approached the barracks to begin his 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, Trooper Alex T. Douglass, 31, was also shot and seriously wounded by a bullet from a .308-caliber rifle.
The sniper then vanished into the dense and dark woods.
Pennsylvania authorities have identified the gunman as 31-year-old Eric Matthew Frein, a man, state police commissioner Frank Noonan said, who should be “considered armed and extremely dangerous.”
“He has been described as a survivalist,” Noonan told a Tuesday news conference. “He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also about wanting to commit mass acts of murder.”
At a news conference today, state police Lt. Col. George Bivens said Frein is a military re-enactor, who, “in his current state of mind” now “appears to have assumed that role in real life,” according to Scranton Times-Tribune.
Bivens also said Frein has a “long-standing grudge against law enforcement and government in general since at least 2006” and altered his appearance before the shooting, shaving the sides of his head with a “wider than a Mohawk” on top.
“I’d like to directly address Eric Frein again,” the police colonel said. “In the event you are listening to this broadcast on a radio, on a portable radio while cowering in some cool, damp hiding place, I want you to know one thing: Eric, we are coming for you. It’s only a matter of time we bring you to justice for committing this cowardly act.”
Although authorities described the suspect as having antigovernment views and survivalist skills, no further details were provided about any political affiliations or ideology.
Last Friday, a jury in an Orlando, Fla., federal courtroom found William “Bill” White guilty of sending death threats to officials in May 2012. Sentencing is set for Nov. 21, when White, 37, will face the possibility of decades in prison.
White is already incarcerated in Florida for sending threats to other individuals. Before he was arrested in 2008, White had held posts in neo-Nazi groups and ran the movement gossip site, Overthrow.com. White is a particularly obnoxious racist, frequently using the most crude racial slurs available and constantly harassing people he doesn’t like by calling for their lynching or worse. He once put President Obama on the cover of his publication, the National Socialist, with a gun sight over his face. The text read, “Kill this Nigger?”
The charges against White stemmed from emailed threats against FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Agent Kelly Boaz, Circuit Judge Walter Komanski and then-State Attorney Lawson Lamar, prominent officials in the case against the American Front white-supremacist group whose Osceola County compound was raided in May 2012. ( continue to full post… )
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… )
LAS VEGAS – A former “skinhead girl” now nearing middle-age, wearing sensible shoes and jailhouse shackles was the star witness in a federal courtroom here Wednesday, the first day of testimony in a racially charged double murder trial 16 years in the making.
Mandie Abels, who has the words “skinhead girl” tattooed across her back, was escorted by U. S. Marshals into courtroom 7C from a prison cell where she is serving a 15-year sentence for her role in what she called “a vile deed”—leading two anti-racist skinheads to their deaths in the desert just outside of Las Vegas.
In the early morning hours of July 4, 1998 Lin Newborn, 24, and Daniel Shersty, 21 were ambushed and shot to death, prosecutors say, by four white supremacists. “They despised what the victims stood for,” federal prosecutor Patricia Sumner told the jury during opening arguments Wednesday.
The killings were a shocking escalation in the violent—but until then rarely deadly—nationwide conflict between racist skinheads and their anti-racist rivals. Newborn, who was black and worked at a popular Las Vegas body piercing shop, and Shersty, who was a white U.S Air Force airman stationed at the nearby Nellis Air Force Base, were leaders of a fledging group called Las Vegas Unity Skins. ( continue to full post… )
All 36 members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) –– a white supremacy gang indicted in a precedent setting racketeering case brought in 2012 –– have now pleaded guilty, sparing courts millions in expensive legal costs.
The last defendant to plead guilty was Rusty Eugene Duke, 32, of Dallas, Texas, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Houston. Duke, identified as an ABT “captain,” pleaded to participating in a racketeering conspiracy.
“The Aryan Brotherhood of Texas launched its murderous and racist ideology within the Texas prisons, but unleashed a violent crime wave that jumped the prison walls and spread like a virus,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
These “sweeping convictions will ensure that these ABT gang members, from generals to soldiers, spend their years in federal prison paying for their crimes, not committing new ones,” Caldwell said.
The violent, racist-based gang, operating in and outside of Texas prisons, was responsible for multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking, according to the Justice Department. The guilty verdicts came as part of a multiple-count superseding racketeering indictment returned by a federal grand jury in October 2012 in Houston, Texas, that replaced initial charges filed in May of that year. ( continue to full post… )
A man who called Dallas police to inform them he was part of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement even as he was engaging officers in an armed standoff was eventually arrested after taking shots at officers and locking down an upscale North Dallas neighborhood.
According to the Dallas Police Department blog, the man –– a 60-year-old Corinth resident named Douglas Lee Leguin –– began taking shots at Dallas firefighters on Monday as they arrived near the scene of a reported Dumpster fire in the well-to-do neighborhood. The firefighters were not hit and put out a call for assistance.
In short order, the Dallas SWAT team and a host of police officers descended upon the scene, and the man continued to fire shots. However, no officers were injured in the incident. Eventually, negotiators persuaded the man to surrender.
Leguin was charged with seven counts of aggravated assault. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, he had placed a number of explosive devices around the property where he engaged police in the standoff. Those devices were defused or detonated. Reportedly, the same man had encountered a babysitter in the neighborhood with an 8-year-old girl and had threatened both of them before starting his rampage.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Leguin had called police during the standoff to tell them that he belonged to the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, which believes that most government institutions are illegitimate, as are the laws they enforce.
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… )
As the Minuteman Project attempts to restore its influence amid what some feel is a new crisis brewing on the border, the project’s co-founder Jim Gilchrist has been barnstorming media outlets in an effort seemingly aimed at saving a public image marred by criminality as he works to rebuild the project.
On VCY America’s “Crosstalk” show Tuesday, for example, Gilchrist felt free to tell his interviewer that hundreds of thousands of Central American children were going to form the “vanguard” of a “Trojan-horse invasion” of the United States, and even sympathized with a caller who suggested gassing the children to death at the border.
But the more difficult realities of the Minutemen came during an interview with Ed Berliner, host of Newsmax’s “MidPoint” program. Rather than serve up softball questions as one might expect from the frequently far-right media outlet, Berliner challenged Gilchrist about the original incarnation of the Minutemen, noting that the movement unraveled amid “criminal charges against some of the people involved, and that includes the former leader, Chris Simcox,” who now faces trial on three counts of child molestation. ( continue to full post… )
A 40-year-old Georgia man who authorities say was part of a ring of antigovernment “sovereign citizens” squatting in high-end homes near Atlanta, claiming them as their own, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Jermaine Eric Gibson, of Atlanta, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Federal prosecutors requested a six-year sentence “to promote Gibson’s respect for the law.”
“Gibson declared that the laws do not apply to him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracia M. King said in a sentencing memorandum. “Perhaps, this is why Gibson, a convicted felon, boldly possessed a firearm and did not hesitate to make it known to others that he possessed a firearm.”
According to court documents and trial testimony, Gibson moved into a foreclosed home in Lithonia, Ga., an upscale, gated Atlanta suburb in March 2013. He quickly declared he owned the house, valued somewhere between $300,000 and $600,000, by filing paperwork with DeKalb County officials claiming he had deeded the home to himself. ( continue to full post… )