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The Blotter: Fall 2010

Updates on Extremism and the Law

May 6
Prosecutors declined to file charges in a double stabbing at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Manalapan, Fla., that sent two long-time neo-Nazis to a hospital following a 2009 fight at a speech by Holocaust denier David Irving. Police had sought charges of aggravated battery against Christopher Nachtman, a former member of the National Alliance, and John Kopko, a former official of the National Socialist White Workers Party. The fight between the two apparently reflected tensions between racist skinhead groups.

May 13
A member of Volksfront, a racist skinhead group, was sentenced in Norfolk, Va., to five years in prison after pleading guilty in connection with pasting more than 60 anti-Semitic and racist stickers on two synagogues. John Edward Grogan also will spend 25 years on probation and is to have no contact with Volksfront members.

May 17
A neo-Nazi in Portland, Ore., pleaded guilty to mailing a noose to an NAACP official in Lima, Ohio, who had been publicly critical of the shooting of an African-American man by a white police officer. Daniel Lee Jones also mailed racist flyers to Lima residents. He faces up to 18 months in prison when sentenced.

May 18
Robert Joos Jr., a Missouri white supremacist and one-time leader of the Sacerdotal Order of David Company, was sentenced to 6  years in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and explosives. Joos was arrested in connection with the investigation of two brothers charged with mailing a package bomb to a black diversity officer in Arizona. Officials said Joos' property had long been used as a training ground for underground white supremacists.

May 26
Teenager Jeffrey Conroy was sentenced to 25 years in prison — the maximum allowed — following his conviction for first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime in the 2008 stabbing of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero. Conroy and six young friends, several of whom later told police they were engaged in a sport they called "b------jumping," used anti-Latino racial slurs during the much-publicized attack. At trial, Conroy tried to blame a former friend for the death.

June 2
A federal grand jury handed down a superceding, 15-count indictment against several self-described "Christian warriors" of the Hutaree Militia. The earlier indictment accused nine members of the antigovernment "Patriot" group of plotting to kill a police officer in Michigan and then ambush more officers at the funeral. The new indictment adds charges related to the illegal machine guns, short-barreled rifles and more than 148,000 rounds of ammunition and explosives that were found in defendants' homes. Four of the defendants were released on bail but ordered not to leave their homes.

June 28
A federal appeals court reversed a trial judge in Chicago, ruling that he erred in dismissing a threat charge against neo-Nazi Bill White, former leader of the American National Socialists Workers Party. The charge related to White's Web post attacking the foreman of a jury that sent another neo-Nazi leader, Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator, to prison. White was already serving a 2 -year sentence in connection with threatening other enemies.

July 2
Two men with extensive connections to white supremacists and the Vagos motorcycle gang were arrested in connection with a six-month series of booby-trap attacks on police officers in Hemet, Calif. The men, said to be enraged by a Hemet officer's 2009 arrest of Nicholas John Smit on drug and weapons charges, allegedly staged eight attacks on officers, including arson, zip guns rigged to fire automatically, and an attempt to fire a rocket at their station.

July 2
Allen Goff, a rising figure in the white supremacist Creativity Movement, was sentenced to six months of probation and fined $150 for carrying a concealed weapon. Goff was acquitted of the more serious charge of felony assault with a weapon after wounding a Latino teen in Billings, Mont., in an incident he claimed was an accident. Prosecutors had argued that the shooting was racially motivated.

July 6
A Kentucky man pleaded guilty to threatening to assassinate the president in a poem that he posted to, a neo-Nazi social networking site. Johnny Logan Spencer Jr. of Louisville wrote: "And the inspiration on the [bullet] casing reads DIE negro DIE." He faces up to five years in federal prison when sentenced.