The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation, one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.
How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.
According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times, Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.
Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.”
However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the charges he faced were not political crimes.
The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.
Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to January.
According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also be admitted.
As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife—the mother of his current accuser—took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.
If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.
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 federal appeals court has reversed the convictions of an Amish splinter sect leader and 15 of his followers who were found guilty in 2012 of federal hate crimes after forcibly shaving the beards and hair of breakaway members of the religious community.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Wednesday that a federal trial judge in Ohio had improperly instructed the jury on the motive element of the crime, which was brought under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act.
At issue in the ruling was whether the trial jury had been properly instructed on how to determine if the crimes met the motive element of the federal hate crime act, which required that the faith of the victims be a primary cause of the assault and not simply a “significant factor.” If federal prosecutors decide to appeal, the case could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alternatively, prosecutors could decide to retry the case, correcting the jury instruction that resulted in the ruling. ( 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 federal trial is slated to begin this week in Albany, N.Y., for an orthodontist long considered an “elder” in the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement and who now faces charges of filing bogus tax returns between 2007 and 2010 in an effort to collect millions in refunds.
Glenn Richard Unger, 62, who often uses the alias “Dr. Sam Kennedy,” is accused of trying to obtain $36 million from the IRS through bogus tax returns. Federal prosecutors have also accused him of scamming another orthodontist, according to the Times Union of Albany.
In 2006, according to prosecutors, Unger told Dr. William O’Donnell that he was giving up his dental practice to do “missionary work” and take care of his ill wife. ( continue to full post… )
Criminal charges have been dropped against nine of 13 people arrested last year in Florida for allegedly participating in paramilitary training with the American Front, described by authorities as a well-armed, militia-style white supremacist group.
Only its leader, Marcus Faella, 39, still faces trial next month in Osceola County. He is charged with participating and teaching paramilitary training, attempting to shoot into an occupied dwelling, and directing the activities of a gang.
Previously, defendant Christopher Brooks, 28, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Luke Leger, 32, and Kent McLellan, 22, each received four years probation after pleading no contest to charges of participating in paramilitary training.
A federal jury on Friday convicted James Timothy Turner, one of the nation’s most prominent antigovernment “sovereign citizens,” on 10 tax fraud charges stemming from seminars he held between 2007 and 2009 that purported to teach people how to tap into “secret” government accounts to pay their tax bills.
Turner, 57, of Ozark, Ala., gave a half-hearted wave as U.S. Marshals took him into custody after the guilty verdict was read today in Montgomery, Ala. He faces as many as 168 years in prison when he is sentenced in U.S. District Court this summer.
Turner was convicted of using a fictitious financial instrument, purportedly valued at $300 million, to pay his own taxes and of assisting others who wanted to get out of paying their taxes with similar “bonds” that he claimed would draw on government accounts. ( continue to full post… )
Four of five self-proclaimed anarchists – calling themselves the Revolutionary People’s Party – have now confessed to involvement in a conspiracy in late April to use C-4 explosives to blow up an interstate highway bridge near Cleveland. ( continue to full post… )
One of five self-proclaimed anarchists has pleaded guilty to three federal “weapons of mass destruction” charges in a conspiracy to blow up a bridge, a Ku Klux Klan gathering spot and a Federal Reserve Bank in Ohio.
Anthony M. Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and malicious use of an explosive device to destroy property used in interstate commerce.
Hayne entered his pleas before U.S. District Judge David Dowd in Cleveland and agreed to testify against the other defendants. Prosecutors said he could have received life in prison, but under the plea deal he could lower his sentence to 15 to 19 years. No date for sentencing was set. ( continue to full post… )