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News Roundup for July 19, 2011

A former member of the white supremacist Aryan Circle prison gang pleaded guilty for his part in a 2008 murder. George Buford Scott pleaded to a single assault charge in return for testimony against a fellow gang member, Billy Wayne Haynes, in the murder of Rey Valdez in 2008. Scott was released for time served on a two-year sentence, while Haynes received life in prison.

Authorities in Asheville, N.C. are looking for suspects in a possible hate crime. Luke Hankins claims that a group of teenagers began to shout gay slurs at him and followed him to his car before one teen hit him, causing three factures in his face. Police are treating the incident a hate crime; however, state law does not include sexual orientation as a consideration for a hate crime.

A Washington couple connected to the sovereign citizen movement has been charged for fraudulently attempting to collect $320,600 in tax refunds. Prosecutors accuse Raymond Leo and Ute Christine Jarlik-Bell of requesting large refunds from the IRS through fraudulent means. Previously, the couple had participated in the “Sovereign Assemblies” movement that promoted sham business accounts to conceal income from the IRS.

Two Arkansas men charged with a hate crime for a cross burning pleaded guilty today. Tony Branscum, 25, and James Bradley Branscum, 23, confessed that they planned to burn a cross in the yard of an African-American man, and carried it out with a third defendant. The pair face up to 10 years in prison for the crime.

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