The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Yet another murder is being attributed to the dangerous white supremacist gang known as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT). But in this case, the alleged victim’s body has not been found.
Nicholas Ryan Acree, 33, and Charles James Garrett Jr., 30, both members of ABT, are being held on murder charges in jail in Mansfield, Texas, authorities say. Bond has been set for each of them at $75,000.
The two suspects, both arrested last Tuesday by Fort Worth police, are suspects in the disappearance of Bryan A. Childers, 39, also of Fort Worth, who has not been seen since May 29, when he was reported missing by his family, according to police.
As members of ABT, the suspects belong to one of the nation’s most violent, racist gangs, operating in and outside of Texas prisons. ABT has been blamed for multiple murders, robberies, arsons and kidnappings, along with extensive narcotics trafficking and other crimes.
Authorities aren’t saying if the Fort Worth case has any connection to the massive federal prosecution brought two years ago, resulting in guilty pleas and convictions of 73 ranking ABT members in five federal jurisdictions. In federal court in Houston, 36 ABT leaders have pleaded guilty this year, with most of those defendants scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Justice Department officials said in August that those cases “decimated” the ABT leadership. At about that same time, Fort Worth detectives began investigating Childers’ disappearance as a homicide after receiving information he “had been killed at a residence” in Fort Worth.
After Acree’s arrest last week, “he admitted to participating in the murder of the victim and also provided detailed information that corroborated information learned [by detectives] while interviewing Garrett and other individuals associated with this case,” police said Friday in a press release.
Since the two arrests, police have searched a residence in Fort Worth and a second in Haltom City, Texas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Friday’s editions.
Evidence discovered at those residences “was consistent with the information given to detectives by Acree and Garrett,” but police didn’t disclose the specifics, the newspaper reported.
Police also aren’t saying if they have any clues as to the whereabouts of Childers’ body, which still has not been found.
Acree and Garrett, charged in August with the aggravated kidnapping and stabbing of fellow gang member Lovick Stikeleather, were out on bail in that gang-infighting case when they were arrested in the Childers disappearance.
Two other ABT members, James Byrd, 44, and Michael Young, 47, are also charged in the Stikeleather assault and are in federal custody, the Fort Worth newspaper reported.
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… )
James Sapp, the 48-year-old man accused of shooting a police officer during a traffic stop in Vancouver, Wash., on June 30, has died in what authorities are describing as a suicide in the local jail.
Sapp allegedly shot Vancouver officer Dustin Goudschall seven times after being pulled over for a traffic violation, then fled the scene, wrecked his vehicle, and then assaulted an elderly man and carjacked his vehicle before finally being caught by police and arrested. Goudschall survived his critical injuries and was able to help identify his assailant. He is currently recovering from the wounds.
On Sunday morning, deputies found Sapp in his cell attempting to commit suicide and intervened. He was rushed to an area hospital but was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m.
Sapp had a long history of claiming membership in the Aryan Brotherhood, dating back to previous arrests for other crimes. He was also involved in a 2012 case in Clark County involving an assault on a 12-year-old Latino boy and a relative.
Sapp’s family told the Vancouver Columbian through a spokesperson that even though Sapp “had a checkered background … he loved his family and wife.”
Rev. Michael Baca, the pastor of the church Sapp’s family attends, told the Columbian that Sapp’s issues seemed to have been triggered by a head injury he suffered a few years ago. Earlier this week, Sapp reportedly expressed remorse for what he had done. ( continue to full post… )
A decade after the Department of Justice successfully brought a major racketeering case against two white supremacist gangs in Utah, another hate crime – gunshots fired at a Salt Lake City synagogue – indicates the groups are still active.
Soldiers of the Aryan Culture (SAC) and Silent Aryan Warriors (SAW) were first publicly identified in 1999 and 2000 when their members were involved in attempted murders and other acts of violence, extortion and conspiracy to distribute narcotics in Utah, according to court records. “They still are operating in our state’s prisons and on the streets,” a Justice Department official said today.
In the most recent case, Macon Michael Openshaw, who has affiliations with both gangs, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for firing a gun at a Salt Lake City synagogue in 2012 – a federal hate crime.
The 22-year-old Salt Lake City man pleaded guilty in April to using an illegally modified .22 handgun to fire three rounds at the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue. Openshaw confessed that he fired at the Jewish place of worship “because of its religious character.”
Committing such hate crimes can be a way of earning membership or membership-nomination in a gang, but Openshaw’s motivation isn’t detailed in court documents. He also admitted to illegally possessing several firearms, including a sawed-off assault rifle, and ammunition while he was subject to a protective order.
His court-appointed attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Kristen R. Angelos, did not return a call for comment.
The synagogue – the largest in Salt Lake City – was unoccupied at the time of the shooting, but the bullets from Openshaw’s firearm broke windows and damaged window frames, authorities say. ( continue to full post… )
A Washington state man with a long criminal history of legal entanglements – and who has claimed in the past to be affiliated with the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood prison gang – allegedly shot and critically wounded a local police officer Monday in Vancouver, Wash., during a routine traffic stop.
James Todd Sapp, 47, of Vancouver was arraigned this week on charges of attempted murder, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm after he reportedly opened fire on Vancouver police officer Dustin Goudschal, a six-year veteran who had pulled Sapp and a companion over in the black pickup Sapp was driving.
Sapp reportedly drove away after the shooting and wrecked the pickup a short distance away. His companion, another Vancouver resident named Timothy Plantenburg, told police he caused the wreck by grabbing the steering wheel, and that Sapp fired his gun at him as he fled the scene.
According to the police, Sapp then attempted to carjack a vehicle belonging to an elderly man, who resisted the robbery attempt and was aided by passersby. Sapp nonetheless was able to drive away in the man’s vehicle, and police caught up to him and arrested him a short time later.
Sapp has a long criminal record, including six prior felony convictions. He has claimed to be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.
One of his previous run-ins with the law included a 2012 case in Clark County where Sapp allegedly assaulted a 12-year-old boy. The boy told a relative, who confronted Sapp, who allegedly punched the man in the face, breaking his nose, and called him a “stupid (expletive) Mexican.” ( continue to full post… )
Prosecutors in Tennessee say they will seek enhanced prison sentences for five Aryan Nations members who have been arrested on attempted murder and other charges in the severe beating of a fellow white supremacist.
The tougher sentences will be sought, prosecutors say, because the five suspects are suspected gang members who carried out the alleged crimes as part of the group’s activity.
Arrested last week were Leonard Lionel Kilgore, 36, of Knoxville, Tenn., and Jacob Eli Campbell, 33, and Michael James O’Conner, Jr., 32, both of Sevierville, Tenn.
David Lee Dozard II, 32, who currently is in a Tennessee state prison on unrelated charges, was served there with charging documents, Anderson County Sheriff Paul N. White said in a news release.
The fifth suspect and the last to be arrested, Crystal Lynnette McGuire, 37, of Powell, Tenn., was taken into custody on Wednesday following a traffic stop in Louisiana, WATE-TV in Knoxville reported.
Prosecutors took their case in the “severe beating” of a 31-year-old Briceville, Tenn., man in December to an Anderson County grand jury last week, and the panel returned indictments against the five suspects, the sheriff said.
“All five persons charged in this case are members of the Aryan Nations gang,” said Sheriff White.
The five suspects face charges of attempted first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.
Kilgore, Campbell and O’Conner are being held in the Anderson County Jail in Clinton, Tenn., on $100,000 bond each. Dozard is in state prison and McGuire is expected to be extradited from Louisiana to Tennessee.
According to Anderson County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Spitzer, the victim was also an Aryan Nations member. Authorities didn’t disclose the victim’s identity or why he was the target of the attack.
“The attack was believed to be a part of the business of the organization –essentially a punishment of one of [its] own members,” Anderson County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Spitzer told the Knoxville television station. He didn’t immediately return a call when Hatewatch attempted to reach him today for comment.Spitzer said that the suspected gang members are not solely driven by matters of race but instead focus on organized crime to make money.
A massive investigation in Oregon shows evidence of a criminal web – involving guns, drugs, stolen property, identity theft and violence – linking white supremacists and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“Operation White Christmas,” as the year-old investigation is code-named, so far has resulted in the arrests of 54 individuals, mostly in the Portland area, leading to 11 criminal cases in state court and another 43 in federal court.
As for its scope, the investigation based in Portland and Multnomah County rivals the prosecutions of members of another violent gang, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
The Oregon suspects variously are affiliated with at least five known street and prison white supremacist gangs – European Kindred (EK); Rude Crude Brood; All Ona Bitch (AOB); Fat Bitch Killers (FBK) and Insane Peckerwood Syndicate (IPS), authorities say.
Others arrested, investigators say, are associates of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang whose members were believed to be involved in firearms and drug trafficking with the white supremacist gangs.
“The scope of this case is by far the largest ever undertaken by this agency in recent memory, based on the number of suspects investigated, the number of persons arrested and the amount of guns recovered,” Lt. Ned Walls, the investigations division supervisor for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, told Hatewatch.
What initially began as an investigation of drug and firearms trafficking by white supremacist gangs blossomed into a broader probe of robberies, home invasions, burglaries, kidnapping, assaults, shootings and witness intimidation, Walls said. Some of the crimes involved gang-on-gang violence.
“The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office would have had an impossibly hard time trying to conduct this investigation on our own,” Walls said. The department, he said, got “outstanding collaborative” support and involvement from the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Clackamas and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices in Oregon, the Portland Police Bureau, the Gresham, Ore., Police Department, Klickitat County, Wash., Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. ( continue to full post… )
Two white supremacist prison gang members – convicted of murdering a fellow white inmate because he shared a jail cell with a black man – were sentenced today to lengthy sentences in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
Donald R. LaFond Jr. was sentenced to life in prison and Jason Robert Widdison was sentenced to 31 years and eight months. Last February, the men were convicted by a jury of murdering fellow inmate Kenneth Mills inside the walls of the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta on March 1, 2011.
“These defendants, members of a white supremacist prison gang, brutally murdered another inmate for not objecting to having an African-American cellmate,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Whether racially motivated violence occurs on our streets or in our prisons, we will hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Evidence presented at trial showed LaFond and Widdison, both members of white supremacist prison gangs, were exercising inside the special housing unit recreation area of the penitentiary shortly before the crime.
Authorities said LaFond, 53, of New Bedford, Mass., was a member of the Aryan Resistance Militia while Widdison, 35, of Morgan, Utah. belonged to the Soldiers of Aryan Culture.
In weeks prior to the prison killing, LaFond and Widdison expressed anger towards the victim because the he had refused to protest the fact that he had an African-American cellmate, according to trial testimony.
“The defendants pressured the victim to take any steps necessary to be reassigned to another cell. Further evidence showed that the victim refused to comply with the defendants’ demands and that the defendants regarded this refusal as a violation of their gang code,” the Department of Justice said in a statement about the case.
On the day of the assault, the victim, who was white and not a gang member, joined the defendants in the recreation area and attempted to make conversation and walk around with them.
After a short period of time, LaFond and Widdison suddenly began to punch the victim from both the front and behind, knocking the victim to the ground, according to trial testimony.
The jury heard that both LaFond and Widdison then stomped on the victim’s head and neck, as many as 10 times each. Corrections officers witnessed the incident and intervened.
Both men ultimately complied with the officers’ orders to stop the assault, but by then, the victim was unconscious. He was taken to a hospital, but never regained consciousness and died on April 5, 2011.
The death in a federal correctional facility was investigated by the FBI.
“Law and order within a correctional facility setting is paramount in protecting the safety and lives of not only those inmates living within the walls of the facility but also for those working there,” J. Britt Johnson, the agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said in a statement after the sentencing.
“The FBI will continue to provide investigative assistance to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in ensuring that these inmates with gang or supremacy affiliations are held accountable for their violent actions,” Johnson said.
A reputed member of the Aryan Brotherhood was convicted today in Springfield, Mass., of the premeditated murders of three men whose bullet-riddled bodies were dismembered with a power saw in a failed attempt to conceal the crimes.
The murders were carried out in 2011 by David Chalue and co-defendant Adam Lee Hall, a member of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang, to silence witnesses the killers believed would testify against them in an earlier assault case, authorities say.
Chalue was convicted by a Hampden County Superior Court jury which spent all week deliberating before reaching its unanimous verdict following a three-week trial, the Springfield Republican reported. Chalue also was found guilty on three counts each of kidnapping and intimidation of a witness in connection with the killings.
On Monday, Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder will sentence Chalue who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In an earlier, separate jury trial, Hall was found guilty of multiple crimes, including first-degree murder, and is now serving life without parole. A third defendant, Caius Veiovis, faces trial in September.
There was no physical evidence linking Chalue to the murders, various media outlets have reported.
The prosecution’s case against Chalue was built around the testimony of three jailhouse informants who cut deals for lighter sentences in exchange for their testimony. They testified last week, telling the jury that Chalue had boasted and provided details about his involvement in the murders of David Glasser, his roommate, Edward Frampton, and their friend Robert Chadwell. ( continue to full post… )
An admitted member of a notorious white supremacist prison gang, out on bond for aggravated robbery charges, allegedly vowed in recent days to kill a police officer if faced with arrest and a return to the penitentiary.
Late Tuesday night, authorities say, the man, identified as Darrell Joseph Legnon, died when he apparently tried to live up to his word.
Legnon, 25, was shot and killed by Nacogdoches County sheriff’s deputies in East Texas as he allegedly brandished and pointed a shotgun at the deputies during a traffic stop.
Legnon, who had been in and out of jail at least 17 times over the years, had previously confessed to authorities that he was a member of the violent and white supremacist prison gang, Aryan Brotherhood, according to television station KTRE.
In the several days leading up to the deadly roadside confrontation, Legnon had allegedly made numerous comments that he was going to kill a police officer, the Nacogdoches Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
“He evidently thought he was going back to the pen,” Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges told KTRE. “Maybe he was, and he took it upon himself that he was not going to go back to the penitentiary, and he had made those statements before to people that this was what was going to happen when the police tried to capture him.”
At the time of his death, Legnon was out of jail on bond, facing two aggravated robbery charges in nearby Cherokee County where he lived. He was also facing an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charge.
Legnon was one of three men in a car pulled over shortly before 11 PM Tuesday by a Cushing, Texas school police officer who grew suspicious when he saw the vehicle cruising through a school campus.
“The vehicle attempted to elude the officer,” according to the news release, “but he was able to catch up with it” and pull it over.
Two Nacogdoches sheriff’s deputies quickly arrived as backup.
Legnon was sitting in the front passenger seat and unexpectedly stepped out of the car “in a quick manner,” Bridges told KTRE.
“The officers immediately noticed he had a shotgun in his hand,” Bridges said, adding that they yelled at Legnon to “Drop the gun; drop the gun; drop the gun.”
Legnon, the sheriff said, kept replying, “no.” ( continue to full post… )