The Blotter: Summer 2009

Updates on Extremism and the Law

Jan. 5
Two members of the Peckerwoods were arrested in Bakersfield, Calif., for assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators say 10 members of the white supremacist gang armed with baseball bats and knives attacked a rival gang member outside his apartment complex. When his fianceé intervened, she was stabbed repeatedly. Police arrested Debra Gannon, 43, and an unidentified 16-year-old.

Jan. 7
The FBI arrested three members of a "vigilante crew" in Staten Island, N.Y., who allegedly beat a teenage Liberian immigrant with a metal pipe and police baton in the hours after Barack Obama was elected president last Nov. 4. Prosecutors said the men also ran over a white man they thought was black, leaving him in a coma, shoved another black man to the ground, and yelled anti-Obama profanities.

Jan. 8
Ricky Allen Snow, who police said was a member of a racist skinhead crew and went by "Snowman," was sentenced to 31 years to life for threatening to kill two residents of Oroville, Calif., while breaking into their homes. Snow, who had 10 prior felony convictions, was sentenced under California's "three strikes" law.

Jan. 17
Three members of Canoga Park Alabama, a Latino street gang, were charged with the hate-crime murder of a randomly targeted black bowling alley worker last Dec. 22 in Canoga Park, Calif. Prosecutors said James Sharp, a 48-year-old father of two, was hauling garbage out of Canoga Park Bowl when a car full of gangbangers pulled up next to him and one of the occupants fatally shot him in the chest.

Feb. 2
A racist skinhead was convicted of felony murder for killing a black woman during a botched carjacking in December 2005 in Hamilton Township, N.J. Walter Dille Jr., a member of the Atlantic City Skins, accosted Cindy Cade in a movie theater parking lot. Witnesses testified that Dille, dressed in camouflage, chased Cade down and shot her in the head. He faces life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Feb. 2
Four self-described white supremacists in Berlin, Conn., including a reputed member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations group, were indicted for assault, robbery and hate crimes for allegedly luring a black man into a home on the pretense of having a party, then beating him severely while yelling racial epithets and robbing him of $180. The victim said his assailants threw rocks at his car when he fled.

Feb. 19
Aryan Circle associate Tanya "Little Feather" Smith was convicted of murdering two police officers during a hotel shootout in Bastrop, La., on Aug. 10, 2007. Smith and her boyfriend — Dennis Clem, a "shot caller" for the white supremacist prison gang — were on the run after allegedly participating in a double murder in Houston. Police who were investigating a theft shot Clem to death when he burst from the Bastrop hotel room he was sharing with Smith with pistols in both hands.

Feb. 23
Ohio Aryan Brotherhood member Billy Jack Fitzmorris overturned a courtroom table, cursed a judge and threatened to kill "the first corrections officer I get a hold of" after being sentenced in Columbus, Ohio, to 80 years for escape, bank robbery, hostage-taking and gun crimes. In 2007, Fitzmorris, then serving a 35-year-sentence for drug trafficking, overpowered a prison guard, stole his uniform and gun, carjacked a motorist and robbed two banks before being recaptured.

Feb. 25
A federal grand jury indicted former Marine Kody Brittingham for plotting to assassinate Barack Obama while stationed at Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, N.C. Brittingham was ejected from the military in January, after civilian authorities arrested him for armed robbery. Investigators who then searched Brittingham's barracks found white supremacist materials and a journal outlining the plot.

March 16
Prosecutors agreed with attorneys for neo-Nazi Bill White that their client should get a new judge from outside Chicago. White, the leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party who faces an upcoming trial for making Internet threats, had expressed delight that the family of another Chicago judge was murdered.

March 24
A federal judge in Jackson, Tenn., rejected defense requests to dismiss a threat charge against Paul Schlesselman, one of two racist skinheads accused of plotting to murder over 100 black people and then assassinate Barack Obama. Schlesselman and Daniel Cowart were arrested shortly before Obama's election.