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The Blotter: Winter 2009

Updates on Extremism and the Law

May 2
A member of the national racist skinhead group Hammerskin Nation was arrested in Endwell, N.Y., for violating parole. Paul Huss, 38, had been released from prison in September 2008 after serving six years for a 2001 bank robbery and assault. Huss, who authorities say also belongs to a motorcycle gang called the Chosen Few, was sought for questioning after 19 of his associates were arrested in western New York for possession of illegal automatic rifles and hand grenades.

June 3
Byron O'Neal Willenberg, a member of the racist European Kindred gang, was convicted in Multnomah County, Ore., of multiple counts of rape, sodomy and burglary stemming from his December 2008 sexual assault of a female acquaintance. Prosecutors intend to ask for an above-the-guidelines sentence because of Willenberg's criminal history and the fact that his victim's ordeal lasted 48 hours.

June 15
Inland Empire Skinheads member Mark Goslyn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and was sentenced to 25 years to life under California's "three strikes" law. Goslyn was one of eight members arrested during a mass sweep of racist skinheads in San Bernardino and Riverside, Calif. Two others had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy, including a woman trying to induce labor when she was arrested on April 20 so her child could be born on Adolf Hitler's birthday.

June 30
A judge ruled that prosecutors could move forward with their case against Westboro Baptist Church member Shirley Phelps-Roper, who was charged with violating a state flag-desecration law in 2007 by encouraging her 10-year-old son to stomp on an American flag outside the funeral of a National Guardsman in Bellevue, Neb. Church members regularly picket military funerals, among others, claiming God is killing soldiers because America is a "f---enabling" nation.

July 22
A federal judge reduced the sentences of two top members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance who were convicted in 2007 of conspiracy to terrorize minorities into staying off the streets of Salt Lake City. Former group chairman Shaun Walker was re-sentenced to 37 months, down from 87, while spokesman Travis Massey's sentence was cut to 30 months from 57. The re-sentencing became necessary when an appeals court ruled in April that the government had not proved that a beating victim suffered "serious bodily injury as opposed to bodily injury."

July 23
Federal agents arrested Edward Eugene Harper, 63, who claimed to have been a member of the defunct antigovernment "Patriot" group called the Montana Freemen and who had been on the run since being indicted in 1994 for allegedly molesting two girls, aged 3 and 8, in Hernando, Miss. Harper, who reportedly spent his years in hiding as a nomadic worker, was found living in a tiny camper in Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains.

July 29
Robert Fox, leader of the antigovernment House of Israel, was found not guilty of drug-possession charges stemming from a spring 2008 search of the group's headquarters in Jacksonville, Texas, that turned up a cache of prescription medications along with a large collection of propaganda hailing Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols as patriots. Felony charges of tampering with governmental records were still pending against Fox.

Aug. 3
A Louisiana judge ruled that Random Hines, 28, the "Imperial Knight Hawk" (in charge of weapons) of the Bogalusa, La.-based Dixie Knights, a Klan group, could retrieve guns, ammunition and a black robe and hood seized during a 2008 probe of the murder of a group initiate. The ruling followed a grand jury's decision not to indict Hines for alleged obstruction of justice in the case.

Aug. 3
Allen Michael Goff, 17, reportedly a member of the neo-Nazi Creativity Movement, was charged as an adult with felony assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly shooting a Latino teenager in the knee during a July 27 altercation outside a shopping mall in Billings, Mont. Officers who searched Goff at the scene found a 9mm pistol and a patch for Montana Front, another white supremacist group.