Angie Murray, the one-time polygamous wife of convicted right-wing terrorist Chevie Kehoe, reflects on life in the movement.
Just days after graduating from high school in Spokane, Wash., in 1993, Angie Murray left her middle-class, Roman Catholic family to become the polygamous second wife of Chevie Kehoe — a hardened white supremacist who earlier this year was convicted of murdering three members of an Arkansas family, including an 8-year-old girl.
She remained in her common-law marriage just 54 days, but in that time she accompanied the abusive Kehoe as he traveled around the country. A young and naive woman when she took up with Kehoe, Murray soon began to see his dark side. She left him before he went on a multi-state rampage and renounced her racist beliefs.
Now living in Canada, she has remarried and is the mother of two children. The Intelligence Report asked Murray about her life in the movement and the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology.
INTELLIGENCE REPORT: How did you meet Chevie Kehoe?
MURRAY: I met him through my sister, Sue, and her husband, Jake Settle, in the summer of 1991 when they were looking for property. The property was owned by Chevie's parents, Kirby and Gloria Kehoe, and was in the Deep Lake area, near Colville, Wash.
He was this kind of quiet person, and we didn't really talk much. In the months to come, I'd go up to Stevens County and spend time with Chevie and his wife, Karena. His brother, Cheyne, was there, too, and we'd all spend time together.
Chevie wasn't abusive to anyone at that time. We'd drink beer and smoke pot.
IR: So how did you come to marry Chevie?
MURRAY: I still ask myself that question. Before I met Chevie, I began studying the Bible with my sister and her husband. They started telling me about God's law.
At that point in my life, doing the right thing, and being the good wife and mother weighed very heavily on my mind. I was partying and drinking and doing everything you weren't supposed to do.
Then Chevie came into my life. He and Jake and Susan convinced me that I shouldn't live my life the way I was and that I should follow their [Identity] lifestyle and beliefs. I guess I just fell into it. I didn't love him. I thought I was doing it for God.
We never actually got married. There was no wedding. We just spent a night in a motel in Spokane, then went up to the Aryan Nations in Idaho. Chevie told everybody I was his second wife.
IR: What was Chevie's relationship with his parents like?
MURRAY: Chevie was always trying to be the authority figure, even around his mother and father. He wanted to be the boss. His mother bowed down to him.
Chevie later bragged to his parents that he had two wives. His dad didn't really say a whole lot, but I know that he wasn't pleased. Gloria wasn't pleased at all.
IR: How did you relate to Chevie's parents?
MURRAY: His mother, Gloria, was into Christian Identity, but not polygamy. She told me I was a whore and concubine, how it was just a horrible thing for me to do. I agreed with her totally.
She warned me all the time that Chevie was going to beat me.
IR: What was it like at Aryan Nations?
MURRAY: The people at Aryan Nations didn't seem to like polygamy. While we were there, Chevie beat Karena. She was seven months pregnant. He gave her a fat lip and a black eye and a bloody nose. He told her that was her first beating and that it wouldn't be her last.
We left from there to stay in the cabin his parents owned near Deep Lake. During that time, I told Chevie that I wanted to leave. He told me that he would kill me if I tried to leave. After that, I was never allowed to walk by myself.
IR: How extensive was the abuse?
MURRAY: Whenever Karena was upset or crying about the polygamous marriage, he would hit her. He wouldn't hit her in front of me, but I always heard it.
I heard him sock her a few times — on at least four different occasions during the 54 days I was with them. Karena put up with it, I guess, because she apparently felt she had no choice.
IR: What did you do after staying in the cabin near Deep Lake?
MURRAY: After a couple of weeks there, we went to Yaak, Mont., where he said we were going to live, but we only spent a day there before going to Ellensburg, Wash., where we stayed a couple of weeks with one of his friends.
Then we left for Elohim City, going through Wyoming. I spent the last two weeks with him at Elohim City.
IR: Describe your experiences at Elohim City [a Christian Identity compound near Muldrow, Okla.].
MURRAY: Chevie wouldn't let me have a lot of contact with the people there, although I did talk with a few of the women. Chevie's parents had taken him there before and he was familiar with the place. There were maybe 70 or 80 people there.
There were guns, but I didn't see a lot of them. I remember that Chevie complained that they weren't his kind of survivalists.
One night, there was a lightning storm and the lights went out. All the kids freaked out. They didn't have candles ready to go, and Chevie complained that they weren't doing it right. They were, you know, pretty simple people.
IR: What was your relationship with Karena like?
MURRAY: I didn't really talk with her a lot. She was so quiet and so shy, and you could feel her pain. She was just so upset about my relationship with Chevie.
She told me Chevie had changed and was being more abusive. She said he was going to try and make me into a quiet, submissive type of a person. We cooked together and we did the cleaning together, but we didn't have a real relationship.
IR: Was Chevie very involved with drugs?
MURRAY: He didn't drink much, but his mom and dad smoked pot a lot, and so did he. It got heavier, apparently, after I left him. I heard from my sister later that Chevie smoked almost all the time in the year or so before he got caught.
IR: Did Chevie tell you about his political activities?
MURRAY: Nothing was ever discussed in front of Karena or me. I don't think he trusted me, so I don't think he said much of anything important around me. I guess he didn't know where I stood on things.
The only decision we were involved with was where we were going to live, and he even changed that.
You didn't question Chevie. I had wanted to leave him before we left the Northwest, but he said I had these obligations. At Aryan Nations, I had started to realize this guy was not okay in the head.
IR: So why didn't you leave him earlier?
MURRAY: I don't really have a concrete answer.
I guess it was manipulation on his part regarding where I should be in my life concerning God. He said I shouldn't be doing the things I was doing. I was living on my own when I met him, partying and drinking.
He told me how a woman should be in the Bible and convinced me that's what I should be doing. I felt so badly about myself. Then, he offered me the option of going with him.
IR: When did you finally decide to leave Chevie?
MURRAY: Right there at Elohim City. Karena went into labor. She was very stressed out from me being there and Chevie telling us both how to act.
A nurse came into the trailer and was trying to tell Chevie how she wanted to do things. She thought Karena was stressed out and that the baby might be in trouble. But Chevie got upset with her for telling him what to do and kicked her out. He went and got his mother instead, who was in Little Rock.
At that time, I went and talked to Rachel, one of the women who lived there. I told her that Chevie was abusive and that it was a bad scene, that I wanted out. She was going to help me leave after Karena had her baby. When Chevie came back with his mom, he told her that I kept wanting out, to leave. Gloria talked him into letting me go.
IR: What did Karena say?
MURRAY: We actually didn't say anything to each other when I left. A little before, I took her aside and I said, "I am leaving. I have already made plans." She told me she would have to tell Chevie. I asked her not to, but she told Chevie anyway.
She was very loyal to him, even though she didn't want me in the picture. There was a lot of fear there. She used to cry and he would slap her. A lot of fear.
IR: What was the last thing that Chevie told you?
MURRAY: That I should never get involved in the Identity movement, because I just didn't have what it takes. I didn't say anything back to him. He just said that he would always love me, and that was about it.
IR: How do you think Chevie came to his political views?
MURRAY: I think the anti-government training he got made him paranoid. I know he studied Christian Identity with Jake Settle for quite a while and that added to his outlook. [Identity] is not healthy and can mess up a lot of people.
IR: Where did his ideas on polygamy come from?
MURRAY: I think through Elohim City and through Jake and Susan, because they support it also. Chevie thought polygamy was great. I've got this picture of him sitting there and women feeding him grapes and rubbing his feet.
I think that's what he wanted — somebody to just pamper him all the time and do whatever he wanted them to do.
IR: What were his views about women?
MURRAY: He thought they were there to do what he said, to be the homemakers, the cooks, the cleaners, and to please men in bed. He didn't regard women as being equal to men. Once, at Aryan Nations, he told me I had to respect him or I was going to get beaten.
IR: Did Jake and Susan ever have a polygamous marriage?
MURRAY: No, but they asked me. I told them no. They asked me twice if I'd join them. The first time I was probably 15, before I went with Chevie. I told them that idea was insane.
The second time they asked me was about a year after I left Chevie, just before I met my current husband. I told them polygamy wasn't for me, that I'd rather be single for the rest of my life. I'd never do that again.
IR: Were weapons important to Chevie?
MURRAY: He always kept a gun that he said was loaded in his glove box. They also had a room upstairs in the cabin near Deep Lake that was full of ammunition and guns and grenades and masks and stuff like that. He showed me where the masks were.
He had an SKS [assault rifle] that he showed me. He was going to train me to take it apart and put back together blindfolded.
IR: What were Chevie's views toward Jews, blacks and minorities?
MURRAY: He said they were animals. The Jews were the Devil's sons and the blacks and all other non-white races were not children of God. I was convinced he believed that. At the time, I believed a lot of the same stuff.
Chevie thought he was better than everybody else. He wanted to live apart from other races. I think in his own twisted little brain, he thought that's what he was supposed to do, that he was following the Bible.
IR: What do you think attracts young people to hate groups?
MURRAY: For me, it wasn't necessarily the Aryan Nations at first. I had heard about all that while studying the Bible with Jake. It was studying the Bible with him that opened a lot of different things for me that I'd never thought about before.
When I went out to Aryan Nations and met some of the Skinheads and other people, the only thing I could see was that many of them were outcasts.
They had found a group that accepted them. They were willing to belong to something that they felt was a powerful thing. I guess they felt wanted, needed, in a group that accepted them — as long as they were white.
If you're looking for something, if you're wanting something, if somebody has a strong enough power and a strong enough influence, whether it be good or bad, you're going to go to it.
IR: How did your relationship with your parents fare through all of this?
MURRAY: When I first was with Chevie, I wasn't allowed to talk with my parents. I called them from Aryan Nations and talked with them, to my mother first. I told her that I was happy. Then she said my dad was having heart problems and she wanted me to come home.
She was just saying that to try and get me to come home. I took it as a ploy.
In the long term, it actually has made us closer. Because they never quit on me, they never turned their backs on me. They were always there. I think they knew deep down in their hearts that I didn't want to do what I did.
Now, we're real tight. My mom's my best friend, and I'm "daddy's little girl." We talk at least twice a week on the phone and I see them at least once a month.
IR: Earlier this year, you went to Little Rock and testified in the federal conspiracy trial against Chevie. [Kehoe was sentenced to life in prison.] How was that?
MURRAY: I was disgusted, having him there in my presence. He just looked slimy. I didn't really have to look at him, but I could see him in my peripheral vision, off to my right. I could hear what he was saying. I just didn't want to see him.
I felt good, finally being able to say my two cents' worth and helping put him away. I can't deny that. You get out of life what you give, and he's getting his.