Leo Felton, a biracial man who describes his mixed-race heritage as a 'curse,' is charged in an alleged terrorist plot after being nabbed outside a doughnut shop.
Although April marked the sixth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the idea of stopping a terrorist bomb plot was far from the mind of Boston police officer Christopher Connolly when he dropped into a local Dunkin' Donuts.
But while Connolly was waiting to pay his bill that day, a dispute broke out between 21-year-old Erica Chase and the cashier over a counterfeit bill that Chase allegedly used to pay for her iced coffee.
When Connolly followed Chase out of the shop to question her, he encountered her boyfriend Leo Felton. At 6 feet, 7 inches and a muscular 225 pounds, the 30-year-old Felton stood out in a crowd even without the words "SKIN" and "HEAD" tattooed on his shaved cranium.
Apparently panicked at the thought of being interrogated, Felton and Chase decided to run for it — only to be captured by Connolly and fellow officer Robert Anthony.
Within a few days, the low-level arrest for counterfeiting had escalated into a full-scale investigation by local police and three federal agencies — the FBI, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Before it was over, authorities would allege in an indictment that Felton and Chase had been planning to bomb black or Jewish landmarks to ignite a race war.
The authorities learned that just a few days before his arrest Felton had purchased pounds of ammonium-nitrate fertilizer which, when mixed with fuel oil, is the basis for an ANFO bomb, similar to the one used in Oklahoma City.
Felton's possessions also included an illegal gun, a Nazi flag, timing devices, notes about bomb-making accompanied by the initials "OKC," counterfeiting equipment, and books on false identities and homemade silencers.
There was even a letter, allegedly from Felton, stating that "before too long" he would be "dropping off the face of the Earth to participate in the historical process."
Authorities also discovered that Chase was a member of both the Outlaw Hammerskins, a violent Midwest-based gang, and the "Sisterhood Prison Support Network" of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator. She first came into contact with Felton last year, when she began writing him at the prison where he was then incarcerated.
Officials say that this April, Chase used fake money, created on Felton's computer, to move from Indiana to Boston and join Felton.
Felton himself was a long-time member of the White Order of Thule (WOT), which he joined while serving an 11-year stretch in prison on assault and other charges. With chapters in Deer Park, Wash., and Richmond, Va., the WOT bills itself as the "foremost occult Aryan pagan order in the world."
It maintains a significant presence inside prisons and its publication, Crossing the Abyss, includes contributions from imprisoned right-wing terrorist Richard Scutari.
A remarkable aspect of the case was the fact that avowed white racist Felton turned out to be biracial, with a black father and a white mother.
In a letter to the Boston Herald, Felton blamed his parents for the "curse" of his mixed-race heritage. In another letter, written in September 2000, Felton displays a sophisticated knowledge of several European neofascist writers.
Meanwhile, investigators continued to probe the possibility of a larger conspiracy. In February, the indictment alleges, an unnamed co-conspirator wrote Felton to comment on his plan for a "museum."
"Plan well," the correspondent allegedly wrote, "and be careful."
Kevin Coogan is a long-time investigative journalist and author of Dreamer of the Day, a recent book about American neofascist Francis Parker Yockey.