After his arrest for a racially motivated rape and killing spree committed the day after Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, white supremacist Keith Luke told police he had planned to end his rampage by killing himself.
It took Luke five years behind bars, Obama’s second inauguration, and at least one other suicide attempt, but the plan has finally been completed. The 28-year-old killer, who was serving two consecutive life sentences in a Massachusetts prison, is dead, apparently by his own hand, the Boston Globe reported today.
Luke was pronounced dead at a hospital Monday afternoon after being on life-support since Saturday, when he was discovered unresponsive in his cell. “We suspect it’s another suicide attempt by Luke,” Massachusetts Department of Correction spokesman Darren Duarte told the Globe.
Luke, who had a history of mental illness, showed up at his first court appearance with a swastika carved into his forehead. He had used a jailhouse razor to cut the bloody symbol into his own flesh, officials said.
He was convicted last May of murdering a man and a woman and raping and critically wounding another woman in Brockton, Mass., the day after Obama was inaugurated, becoming the nation’s first black president. Luke’s victims were immigrants from the West African archipelago Cape Verde.
Luke, who was 22 during the spree, told investigators that he decided to kill blacks, Latinos and Jews after reading about “the demise of the white race” on the white supremacist website, Podblanc. He also told them that had he not been arrested, he planned to go on that same day to kill as many Jews as possible at a local synagogue’s bingo night.
The murders in Brockton were part of a series of furious but unsuccessful racist responses to the election of Obama. Others included two skinhead assassination plots, a conspiracy to set off a bomb at the inaugural festivities, the murder of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and others.
Luke apparently had no contact with the white supremacist movement prior to his rampage other than via the Internet. That is highly unusual — experience has shown that most domestic non-Islamic terrorists meet and network with others on the radical right before acting, and almost never are prodded to extreme violence only through a computer monitor.
At the time that Luke was reading him, American neo-Nazi Craig Cobb was running the Podblanc site from his self-imposed exile in Estonia. Cobb moved there in 2007 after decades of neo-Nazi activism in America with neo-Nazi groups such as World Church of the Creator (since renamed The Creativity Movement) and the National Alliance.
Cobb’s site featured videos detailing combat handgun tactics, offered instructions in how to make Molotov cocktails, and celebrated and encouraged “lone wolf” terrorism.
Most recently, Cobb was back in the states, trying to buy up and take over the tiny town of Leith, N.D., and turn it into an all-Aryan enclave called “Cobbsville.”
That effort ended when Cobb was arrested last November and charged with terrorizing the residents of Leith as he paraded through the streets cursing and toting a rifle, dressed in a baseball cap, a windbreaker and what appear to have been shower shoes.
In April, Cobb was given four years probation in a plea deal. He faced up to 30 years in prison before the reaching the plea agreement. He said he now plans to “retire from white nationalism.”
Neither Luke nor his victims were so lucky.