The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
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… )
With a trial set to begin in three months, federal prosecutors in Texas have obtained guilty pleas from 19 of the 36 Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) members accused of multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking.
The latest pleas came last week from Ronald Lee “Big Show” Prince, 44, and Stephen Tobin “Scuba Steve” Mullen, 44, both of Dallas. Both men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity. At sentencing in October, they both face maximum sentences of life in prison.
Like the others who have pleaded guilty, Prince and Mullen confessed to being part of a criminal enterprise that federal investigators claim has operated in and out of various prisons since at least 1993.
The ABT, established in the early 1980s, is considered one of the most violent crime syndicates in the United States. It was modeled on the white supremacist philosophy of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang formed in that state’s prison system during the 1960s.
By striking plea deals with some of the defendants, Justice Department prosecutors appear to be setting the stage to have some members of the enterprise testify against their former co-conspirators in exchange for lighter sentences under “substantial assistance” provisions of sentencing guidelines.
Late last year, the Justice Department withdrew its option of seeking the death penalty in the case. Still, many of the defendants face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The case began with an initial racketeering conspiracy indictment brought in November 2012 against 36 members of the “violent, whites-only prison-based gang with thousands of members operating” in and out of prisons throughout Texas and elsewhere. Since then, there have been two superseding indictments, as prosecutors fined-turned their cases against remaining defendants, using a secret grand jury and cooperating defendants and witnesses.
The federal racketeering law allows prosecutors to include multiple crimes in one all-encompassing indictment. ( continue to full post… )
The dead man’s transgression, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, was he “refused to protest the fact that he had a black cellmate.”
“The defendants pressured the victim to take any steps necessary to be reassigned to another cell,” the statement continued, adding that when the man, who did not belong to a prison gang, refused to comply “the defendants regarded this refusal as a violation of their gang code.”
The victim, Kenneth Mills, and the white supremacist gang members convicted of his murder – Donald R. LaFond Jr., 53, of New Bedford, Mass., and Jason Robert Widdison, 35, of Morgan, Utah – were inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta. Authorities said LaFond was a member of the Aryan Resistance Militia and that Widdison belonged to the Soldiers of Aryan Culture. ( continue to full post… )
Four members of a white supremacist prison gang and a female accomplice were arraigned this afternoon in Tacoma, Wash., on charges related to the brutal stabbing death last month of a fellow gang member.
Derek Wagner was stabbed multiple times, including once in the heart, and bled to death after he was confronted with accusations of having a sexual relationship with one of the defendants’ wives and associating with a rival gang, authorities said.
“This is a case of white supremacists killing one of their own,” Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said at midday in announcing the charges. “The victim was murdered for violating the gang’s own code.”
Those charged were Jeffrey Allen Cooke, 32, Melissa Ann Bourgault, 33, Mark Michael Stredicke, 37, Eric Michael Elliser, 33, and Shanne Thomas McKrittrick, 32, all residents of the Tacoma area. They each were arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the second degree.
Authorities say Bourgault is McKittrick’s girlfriend.
Federal prosecutors now have guilty pleas from fully half the 36 members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) who were indicted last year for committing multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking.
To date, 18 of the defendants have entered guilty pleas, and the remaining 18 are scheduled to stand trial May 12 in U.S. District Court in Houston. Other guilty pleas likely could occur between now and the trial date.
The ABT is considered one of the most violent crime syndicates in the United States – responsible for crimes both in and out of prisons. It was established in the early 1980s within the Texas penal system, modeling itself around the white supremacist philosophy of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang formed in that state’s prison system during the 1960s. ( continue to full post… )
When a gunman assassinated the head of Colorado’s prison system at his home last March 19, it provided a deadly example of the threat from white supremacist prison gangs.
The suspect in the case, 28-year-old Denver parolee Evan Ebel, was a member of 211 Crew, a particularly vicious regional white supremacist prison gang whose size has been estimated at somewhere between several hundred and a thousand members, all in Colorado.
Ebel was killed during a shootout with police after wounding a North Texas sheriff’s deputy and then crashing his car during a chase that reached speeds of over 100 mph. Police believe he may also have murdered a pizza delivery man, then stolen his uniform to use as a ruse to gain access to the home of Tom Clements, the Colorado prison official who was slain. He was the second 211 Crew member slain during a confrontation with police within a 13-month span.
Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center, publisher of Hatewatch, released a new training video intended to help correctional and law enforcement officers understand the structure of these gangs, their criminal enterprises and the signs, such as distinctive tattoos, that officers can use to identify members’ affiliations. ( continue to full post… )
The Aryan Brotherhood, a prison-based white supremacist gang, reportedly has issued a $10,000 reward for the killing of two black teenagers accused of beating to death a World War II veteran in Spokane, Wash.
Delbert “Shorty” Belton, an 88-year-old vet who fought in the battle of Okinawa, was attacked in his car at the Eagles Lodge parking lot in North Spokane on Aug. 21 and died the next day.
Demetruis Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, were arrested separately and charged with what police described as a robbery-homicide in a case that has drawn national media attention.
The reported bounty posted by the Aryan Brotherhood is mentioned in court documents explaining why Superior Court Judge Debra Hayes ordered the suspects transferred from a juvenile detention facility to protective adult custody in the Spokane County Jail, The Spokesman-Review reported today. When suspects are led from the juvenile facility to court, they pass through an open courtyard accessible by the public, but the adult jail doesn’t allow that access. ( continue to full post… )
A white supremacist and career criminal who sent threatening letters laced with fake anthrax powder to a federal judge and a prosecutor in Arkansas will have a lot of time in the coming decades to think over his many misdeeds.
LeRoy Shawn Selsor, who claims to be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) prison gang, was sentenced last week to 15 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole. But the 36-year with a baseball-size swastika on his neck won’t be able to even start serving that federal prison time until approximately 2025, when he completes a 20-year state prison term in Arkansas for stabbing and robbing a disabled man in a wheelchair. ( continue to full post… )