Notorious white supremacist Dennis Mahon faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted in Phoenix on charges related to mailing a pipe bomb to a diversity officer who is African-American.
Mahon, 61, was convicted Friday of conspiracy to damage buildings and property with explosives; malicious damage of a building by means of explosives; and distribution of information related to explosives. His twin brother, Daniel Mahon, was acquitted on a single federal charge of conspiracy to damage buildings and property.
The mostly white jury determined the bombing was not a hate crime.
The pipe bomb was mailed in February 2004 to Don Logan, who was then director of the Office of Diversity and Dialogue for the city of Scottsdale, near Phoenix. The bomb exploded when Logan opened the package, badly injuring him. Two other employees sustained lesser injuries.
“I’m happy with the guilty verdict against Dennis Mahon, and I understand the not-guilty verdict that was returned against Daniel Mahon,” Logan told Hatewatch today. “I’m most disappointed with the lack of a hate crime conviction, given the evidence that I observed in the trial.’’
One piece of evidence presented to the jury was a recording of a telephone threat that Logan received at his city office after he was quoted in a news article about a Hispanic Heritage celebration. The caller, who identified himself as Dennis Mahon, told Logan that a “few white people are going to stand up against this stuff.”
His office later received the mailed pipe bomb. “It was so obviously based on race,” Logan said of the bombing. “Even though I didn’t know these men, they had to know I was black.”
The Justice Department’s case was built around the testimony of a female informant, recruited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and secret recordings she made after putting a Confederate flag in her window and befriending the Mahons in a trailer park. The informant gave two sexually provocative pictures to the Mahons in a successful attempt to win their trust and attention. In one, she wore a white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a Nazi swastika.
The trial began Jan. 10, almost three years after the Mahons were indicted and arrested in Illinois following a five-year undercover investigation by the ATF.
Bill Straus, the Arizona director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said he sat in on portions of the trial. “I am disappointed the jury voted ‘no’ on the question whether race was a primary motivating factor,” he told Hatewatch. “It’s hard for me to believe, knowing what I know about the case.”
Straus said he plans to deliver a statement to the court on May 22 when Dennis Mahon, who remains in custody, is scheduled to be sentenced.
Logan, who retired in 2009 after 28 years with the city of Scottsdale, also said he will address the court, although he refuses to consider himself a victim. “I was totally unsuspecting, so I became an easy target.”
He offered praise for the ADL and Justice Department investigators and prosecutors for support he’s received since the bombing. “I’m very happy with the case they prepared. I don’t second-guess anything the Justice Department did, other than I wish they’d secured a more-diverse composition of the jury.”
Now semi-retired, Logan said he continues working as a motivational speaker and also does diversity training and consulting. He is finishing a self-published book about the bombing and his career as an African American “working in the fifth-whitest community in the United States.” The book is entitled: “Target Delivery: Destination, Scottsdale, Ariz."