Former Followers Expose Neo-Nazi Skinhead, Former Klan Leader Bill Riccio for Sexual Harassment, Abuse
Skinhead Recruiter Faces Accusations
By Brentin Mock
"We went off alone to a trail in the woods," Loggins said in a telephone interview from Donaldson. "We were talking and drinking. His exact words were, 'Have you ever wanted to defy nature?' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Have you ever wanted to make love to another man?'"
According to his story, Riccio tried to reach between his legs. Loggins says he then knocked Riccio back and ran away. He was 15 at the time.
"The guy's a child molester and I know it without a doubt," says Loggins. "Back then, I tried to tell people about it but everyone was like, 'Not Bill.' As time went on, they would come to me and say, 'You were right about Bill.'"
In his interview with the Report, Riccio blamed the accusations of sexual misconduct on disenchanted former friends trying to discredit him. "People say a whole lot of things when they are really reaching for something to assassinate your character," he said.
Riccio, who was contacted by phone at his workplace at Tire Tech, a tire dealership in Birmingham, was nonchalant about the allegations. He said he's been called many things by many people — a snitch, a con-artist, a traitor — by former associates feeling a "little resentment" over their past relationships with him. He said that he still adheres to the "88 precepts," a sort of neo-Nazi code of honor, which strictly prohibits homosexual behavior. "It's not a healthy lifestyle," Riccio said of homosexuality. "You put yourself at risk for diseases. It's not conducive to the family, and it hurts the white birth rate."
Riccio, who still attends and gives speeches at white supremacist rallies in Alabama and Georgia, confirmed to the Report that he continues to recruit young people into the white supremacist movement. He said he goes looking for them at shopping malls, concerts and "the swimming hole."
"I have people over to shoot pool," Riccio says. "Sometimes they're 18 or 19. I don't like to hang out with someone below 17 or 18, I like to keep it 18, 19, 20. They can do what they wanna do."
Michael "Shane" Moon was 15 years old when he met Riccio in 1992. He lived at the compound off and on for several months before he was eventually kicked out of Aryan National Front for using cocaine. (Riccio enforced a strict policy against hard drugs.) Moon went on to start the Aryan Mafia, an Alabama prison-based white supremacist gang. Heavily tattooed with Odinist and Nazi symbols, he is currently serving time at Ventress Correctional Facility for first-degree assault.
Moon told the Report that Riccio never made any sexual moves on him, and initially said that he didn't care to even think about such accusations. "I've learned not to pry into stuff that people don't offer. Sometimes you don't wanna know, and there's a reason for that." Later in a 45-minute interview, however, Moon started to express doubts, remembering that Riccio was close friends with Roger Handley, a former grand dragon with the Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan who was convicted in May 1995 of sodomy and sexual abuse of a teenager.
"Roger [Handley] and Bill were in the Klan together. Roger had these same charges against him [sodomy] and they were friends," says Moon. "I'm just pointing out some of the evidence that looks, y'know…"
Contacted by the Report, Handley, who is now 77, said that Riccio in the 1990s bragged about recruiting the "next generation" of Klansmen. "He got with that Aryan National Front, and two or three of [the boys] would come by my house to just talk, but I was never really around them to converse with them, and surely not in private."
In November 1991, Handley and Riccio co-hosted a huge skinhead and Klan gathering on Handley's farm. The following June, the two men organized a white power march through downtown Birmingham by 150 skinheads and Klansmen. "There were lots of young ones," Handley recalls. "A hell of a lot of young ones."
Bashing With a Buzz On
According to former skinheads interviewed for this story, a typical night at the compound found the skinheads drinking Evan Williams bourbon, Jägermeister and Heineken beer provided by Riccio, while the godfather ranted about clearing Jews, blacks and gays out of Alabama, a state he said he planned to claim as a "haven for whites." Then, with a good buzz going, the skinheads would go out into the night, looking for non-whites, Jews and gays to "bash."
"Bill was more the type that would make you feel like you wanted to do it," says Moon. "He would never tell you to do anything."
Another thing Moon remembers: "You'd see Bill with a beer all night, but if you actually watch him, it's the same beer. It's just to show the deceptive part of him. He puts up an image he wants you to see."
The night of April 18, 1992, after a party at Riccio's for Adolf Hitler's birthday, a group of ANF and Hammerskin members went to a viaduct in downtown Birmingham, where they beat and stomped to death a black homeless man named Benny Rembert. "Bill is the one that told them to go bashing that night," says Lonnie Painter, who says he attended the party that night. "Anytime we was having a party getting drunk, he said, 'We gonna go do some bashing tonight.' He made that speech at every party."
Skinheads Edward Earl Simmons Hardeman, and Malcolm Samuel Driskill were convicted of Rembert's murder. Mark Lane was convicted of manslaughter.
Later that year, Tom and Ken Collins, Cecil Bradley, Adam Galleon, Jonathan Miller and Louis Oddo were arrested with Riccio after a raid on the compound and charged with a medley of crimes including assault and weapons violations. In addition, in 1994, Oddo and Galleon were sentenced to 35 and 25 years, respectively, for murdering two homeless black men.
Now 33 years old, Lane is 14 years into a 20-year sentence for his part in the murder of Rembert. Today, he says that joining Riccio's gang was the biggest mistake of his life. He recently covered up a swastika tattoo on his arm with a Native American tribal symbol. Another swastika remains tattooed inside his lower lip.
Lane is up for parole soon and he says he aims to get out and help steer kids away from the lure of racist gangs while finally enjoying a life on the outside with his wife and daughter. He says Riccio wrote him a letter once a few years back. His letter back was short and to the point: "Don't write me again. You are a stain on my past."
Riccio says the murder of Rembert was "random" and "unauthorized." He says it "set the whole movement back 20 years." "If they didn't do what they did and brought the whole compound down, we'd still be out there educating the people," Riccio says.
He denies manipulating or brainwashing his young followers. "Not one person in jail was manipulated by me in any way. If they'd listened to me, not one of them would have went to jail. So, the kids blame me. But if they listened to what I said, I said, 'Now is not the time.'"
Not long ago, Riccio says he found out he has a son who's now 19 years old. Riccio said the boy's mother won't allow her son to associate with his biological father, which seems to bother Riccio about as much as being accused of pedophilia and ruining young lives, which is not a lot. "He's a good ol' redneck," Riccio says of his son. "He didn't want to be part of any movement and I respect that. Just as long as he marries someone white, he's alright."
The mother of Riccio's son isn't the only concerned parent in Alabama who's determined to keep their son away from Riccio. "Riccio is a nothing, a nobody," says Jean Startley, whose 31-year-old son Richard Startley was recently released from prison after a three-year sentence for a forgery charge. Richard Startley was a longtime associate of Riccio's who earlier this year renounced neo-Nazi ideology and is seeking to remove a swastika tattoo from his face. "He got all these little soldiers making him think he's a somebody," he says. "Riccio is pretty radical and how he stays out of prison is beyond me."
Riccio says he isn't terribly concerned about parents who object to his spending time with their sons. "That's cool," he says. "But if you turn 18 and you still don't feel [the same way as your parents], then come see me."