The day after Barack Obama was inaugurated on a cold January day in 2009, becoming the nation’s first black president, a young, obese white supremacist named Keith Luke went on a racially motivated one-day rape and killing spree in Brockton, Mass.
Luke, who was 22 and had a history of mental illness, told authorities he decided to kill blacks, Latinos and Jews after reading about “the demise of the white race” on white supremacist websites.
He said he was “fighting for a dying race.”
By the time he was captured after a high-speed chase and shoot-out with police, Luke had killed two people – Selma Concalves, 20, and Arlindo Depina Concalves, 79 – and raped, shot and badly wounded a third, after breaking into her home. The victims were immigrants from the West African archipelago of Cape Verde.
Now 26, Luke will spend the rest of his life paying for his personal race war. On Thursday, according to The Boston Globe, a Plymouth County Superior Court judge ordered Luke to serve two consecutive life sentences without parole after a jury convicted him Thursday afternoon of a long list of offenses in the case that continues to haunt the surviving victim.
“My life has been nothing but a nightmare since Jan. 21, 2009,” the Globe quoted the woman as telling the court Thursday as she gave a victim impact statement. “I’m no longer able to answer a knock on my door from family or friends without fear or memory of this tragic day.”
As she spoke, according to the Globe, Luke, dressed in a white T-shirt and green pants, sat stoically next to his lawyer, who had unsuccessfully tried to convince the jury that his client was insane at the time of his murderous spree. During a hearing in May 2009, Luke walked into the courtroom with a jagged swastika freshly carved into his forehead.
At his sentencing, Luke’s head was shaven and he had lost a considerable amount of weight since his arrest and confinement in a special security unit of a local jail.
The Anti-Defamation League of New England applauded the verdict and sentence, saying in a written statement “our community is safer tonight.”
“Like all perpetrators of hate crimes, Luke was trying to send a message to his victims – and everyone else who shares the victim’s characteristics – that they are not welcome or safe,” the New England league’s interim director, Robert Trestan, said in the statement. “Now that he has been brought to justice, we hope a louder, stronger message resonates: that all people are welcome and safe in Brockton and across Massachusetts.”