Utah Skinhead Leader Jailed
After a year-long cat-and-mouse game with authorities, white supremacist Johnny Bangerter has been sentenced to six months in jail on weapons charges.
Bangerter, who leads the so-called Army of Israel and once vowed to take over Zion National Park as a white homeland, had been a fugitive since August 1997, when he skipped out on a sentencing hearing for carrying a loaded gun in his car.
During his time on the lam, Bangerter, 29, fortified his La Verkin, Utah, home and frequently boasted to reporters that he would not be taken by law enforcement officials. But the local sheriff refused to be drawn into a standoff, saying the tough-talking Bangerter was "very paranoid" and promising to arrest him without violence.
Bangerter, the second cousin of a former Utah governor, is well known on the racist right. After years as a Skinhead in Las Vegas, he moved to Utah with a band of followers.
He acknowledged to one reporter that he had spoken of wanting to blow up federal buildings, adding that he met Timothy McVeigh two months before the Oklahoma City bombing — but Bangerter insisted he was involved in no attacks. In May 1995, he threatened to kill Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
Bangerter also was sentenced in October on charges related to fleeing St. George police just prior to his arrest in May. But Judge G. Rand Beacham sentenced him only to time to run concurrently with his six-month sentence on the original weapons charge, saying he didn't believe Bangerter was the person "portrayed in the media."