The judgment against neo-Nazi William Pierce for his part in helping the COTC evade payment for the death of Harold Mansfield stands.
A July 27 ruling by a federal appeals court upheld a judgment against William Pierce, author of the infamous race-war novel, The Turner Diaries, and leader of the National Alliance, one of the country's most notorious neo-Nazi organizations.
In May 1996, Southern Poverty Law Center attorneys won an $85,000 judgment for the family of Harold Mansfield against Pierce. Pierce appealed that judgment, awarded by a North Carolina jury which found that Pierce was involved in a scheme to hide the assets of another hate group, the Church of the Creator (COTC).
In 1991 in Florida, a COTC member murdered Mansfield, a black sailor who served in the Gulf War. The Center sued and won a $1 million default judgment for the Mansfield family against the COTC, but COTC leaders had transferred ownership of its property to Pierce to prevent it from going to Mansfield's heirs.
"The jury's verdict sent the message that the law will not allow hate groups to evade responsibility for the violent actions of their members," Center legal director Richard Cohen said after the 1996 trial.
"Although Pierce was not involved in the Mansfield murder, he participated in the scheme to keep the COTC assets from the Mansfield family. The jurors told Pierce that he could not profit from the death of Harold Mansfield."