Utah Teen Kills for Racist Gang Tattoo

Extremists Behind Bars

Early in the last century, psychologist Alfred Adler broke with Sigmund Freud, declaring that people's behavior is driven largely by their need to belong. In October 2001, 18-year-old Darren Neil Grueber Jr. provided grisly confirmation of Adler's theory.

According to Salt Lake County prosecutor Vincent Meister, Grueber longed to belong to the Silent Aryan Warriors (SAW), a white supremacist gang that operates inside and outside of Utah prisons. Grueber, whose father is a Silent Aryan Warrior serving time on a weapons conviction, reportedly asked to go to jail after he assaulted a youth detention counselor in June 2001. The reason, Meister said, is that Grueber knew he couldn't join the gang until he'd been behind bars.

After he got probation instead, Grueber began writing to SAW members at the Utah State Prison, begging to be allowed the gang's "patch" — a tattoo with an Iron Cross, swastika, skulls, lightning bolts and a Runic phrase that translates, "Forever white, forever proud." When saw members turned down his pleas, Grueber waited for his chance — and found it soon enough.

Five ex-convict SAW members took Grueber along that Oct. 10 when they kidnapped 36-year-old Don Dorton. The gang, which Utah officials say is more committed to methamphetamine than to white-power politics, believed Dorton had stolen an ounce of the substance. Dorton was beaten, gagged, wrapped in a sheet and bound with duct tape, then driven to a remote location in Salt Lake County.

At that point, prosecutors say, Grueber took it on himself to administer further punishment, killing Dorton by dropping an 87-pound rock onto his head. After the murder, Meister said, Grueber was seen "licking his bloody gloves."

Grueber swore he was innocent, but he didn't deny that he wanted to join the gang. This January, after a jury convicted him, Judge Robin Reese gave Grueber plenty of prison time: five years to life for the murder, and 15 years to life for the aggravated kidnapping. The judge said Grueber's act was "nothing more than killing for the sake of killing."

But it was also, apparently, killing for the sake of a patch.