Updates on Extremism and The Law
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from former White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan member James Ford Seale, serving three life sentences at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for his part in the 1964 beating deaths of black teenagers Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, who Seale suspected of civil rights activism. Initial charges against Seale were dismissed by Mississippi officials in 1965, but the case was reopened and he was convicted in 2007.
Daniel Cowart, the one-time probationary member of the Supreme White Alliance racist skinhead group who pleaded guilty in March to charges he plotted to kill then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. In addition to Cowart of Bells, Tenn., Paul Schlesselman of West Helena, Ark., was convicted in a separate trial. The pair met over the Internet and hatched plans for a robbery and killing spree culminating in Obama's assassination.
Daniel Lee Jones, a regional director of the now-defunct American Nationalist Socialist Workers Party, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for mailing a hangman's noose to F.M. Jason Upthegrove, former president of the Lima, Ohio, chapter of the NAACP. Upthegrove was targeted after he criticized a drug raid that left 26-year-old Tarika Wilson dead and her 14-month-old son wounded.
Zachary Loren Beck, a member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, withdrew from an agreement to plead guilty to federal hate crime charges in a January 2010 attack on the lone black patron of a sports bar in Vancouver, Wash. In 2005, Beck had pleaded guilty to assault charges after shooting at Longview, Wash., police a year earlier. In 2003, he ran unsuccessfully for the Hayden, Idaho, City Council.
A U.S. magistrate judge in Detroit denied alleged members of the Hutaree Militia a hearing they sought to contest government conspiracy allegations. Nine members of the self-described group of "Christian warriors" were arrested last March and accused of plotting to murder a police officer and then use bombs and missiles to kill hundreds of other officers at the funeral in a bid to set off a national insurrection. The eight men and one woman came from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Allen Goff, an 18-year-old white supremacist accused of threatening an American Indian teen at gunpoint in Billings, Mont., pleaded not guilty to felony charges of assault with a weapon. Goff leads the Montana Creators Assembly, an offshoot of the neo-Nazi Creativity Movement. In 2009, Goff was charged with the racially motivated shooting of a Latino teen in the leg, but claimed it was an accident and was only convicted last July of weapons charges. He got six months' probation.
Actor Wesley Snipes began a three-year federal prison sentence in Pennsylvania for failing to file income tax returns on millions of dollars of earnings during the 1990s and later. The 48-year-old star of the "Blade" films and "Jungle Fever" had long maintained his innocence, telling CNN's Larry King a day earlier that he wasn't a tax protester, despite abundant evidence that he actively sought out and employed bogus tax-avoidance advice from radical-right "sovereign citizen" gurus.
A federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., sentenced Edwin Westmoreland to 40 months in prison for providing weapons to an informant posing as a representative of the Imperial Klans of America. Westmoreland, a member of the Connecticut White Wolves neo-Nazi group, had pleaded guilty in June to selling guns to the informant, who he knew was a convicted felon. Prosecutors have said the plot, which allegedly involved several other White Wolves members, was part of a push to boost the group's status and geographic base in the white supremacist movement.
Following two mistrials, John Ditullio was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison for a 2006 knife attack that badly wounded Patricia Wells and killed her son's 17-year-old friend, Kristofer King. Ditullio, who was a recruit in a racist skinhead group called American Nazis, lived in a trailer park with fellow members in New Port Richey, Fla., next to Wells' home. Ditullio and his fellow neo-Nazis reportedly despised Wells because she sometimes had black house guests.