The part black and completely over the top white supremacist Craig Cobb pleaded guilty Thursday to menacing and terrorizing the residents of the tiny town of Leith, N.D., which he once hoped to buy up and turn into an all-Aryan enclave called “Cobbsville.”
"I apologize for my behavior and I regret my actions,” Cobb told a judge in a Burleigh County courtroom, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
Cobb’s soft-spoken plea was part of an agreement with prosecutors that apparently will spare the 62-year-old racist, who discovered last fall that he was 14% black, much more jail time or a lengthy prison sentence, the Herald said.
Except for the few days he spent on a mental ward during a short-lived hunger strike, or “spiritual journey,” as he put it, Cobb has been locked up in the Mercer County Jail since Nov. 16. That’s when he was arrested and charged with seven counts of terrorizing as he led his racist acolyte and roommate, Kynan Dutton, on an armed “patrol” of Leith. Dutton, 29, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was released in January after agreeing to testify against Cobb.
The profanity-laced patrol was recorded on a cell phone camera by Dutton’s girlfriend and later posted to the Internet by some of Cobb’s fellow white supremacists in an apparent – and successful – attempt to mock and embarrass Cobb.
“Hey, f--- you with your double-talk Christian shit, man,” Cobb shouted at a resident watching the armed men walk through the town of 16. “You act like a man. You go up there and tell the rest of them to comport themselves with some goddamned dignity. F--- you. You f------ k---, Jew c---------.”
“I can only control my own behavior,” the resident responded. “I can’t control what everyone else does.”
“I can control mine, too,” Cobb said. “I’m not shooting you, am I? F--- you.”
Cobb’s dream — Leith’s nightmare — to create an all-white bastion of racists in North Dakota was first reported by the Bismarck Tribune and Hatewatch last summer.
Since his arrest, Cobb appears to have been dreaming of getting as far away from Leith as he can. “And I’ll never come back to North Dakota,” he told The Associated Press last November. In the meantime, he’s deeded the ramshackle house with no running water that he brought sight unseen for $5,000 to a third party unrelated to his racist schemes, according to the Herald. He is also reportedly deeding other properties he owned in Leith to the city or a third party.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, according to the Herald, Cobb pleaded guilty to one count of terrorizing, a felony, and five misdemeanor counts of menacing. Under the agreement, the paper reported, Cobb will have to serve four years of supervised probation, but prosecutors will not seek any more jail time.
The judge in the case, David Reich, postponed sentencing, however, saying he wanted more information about Cobb’s background. Judge Reich ordered a pre-sentence investigation and Cobb was returned to the lockup where he will have plenty of time to think about the fateful patrol that shattered his dreams.
“Do you think this is going to win people over to what you’re trying to do?” a resident asked as Cobb walked through Leith with a rifle.
“Hey, listen, a------,” Cobb shouted back. “I’m one of the most famous racists in the world, you son of a b----. Don’t talk to me about winning people over.”
“I know you are,” the resident said. “But I’m asking, do you think this is going to win people over?”
“Jackasses like you, we don’t care,” Cobb said. “You’re a tool of the k----.”
“I pray for you every day,” the man responded.
“F--- you,” Cobb said.
The judge has some thinking to do.