Long-time racist Dennis Mahon has failed in a bid to reverse his 2012 conviction for mailing a package bomb that exploded and injured a black city official and two others in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2004.
Mahon’s appeal argument was this: The City of Scottsdale’s Office of Diversity and Dialogue wasn’t involved in interstate commerce and, therefore, the federal charges he faced were unconstitutional and invalid.
But in a ruling handed down late last month, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals firmly rejected Mahon’s appeal, upholding his conviction that resulted in a 40-year prison sentence.
Mahon is being held at the Hazelton Federal Correctional Institute in Bruceton Mills, W.Va., Bureau of Prisons records show. His scheduled release date is 2044 when he would be 93-years-old.
In appealing Mahon’s conviction, his attorney argued that federal charges were invalid because there was no interstate component. But the federal appeal court said the target of the bombing, the Scottsdale Diversity Office, “was property used in commerce or in activity affecting interstate commerce.”
“Partnering with numerous corporate sponsors and local hotels, [the Diversity Office] planned, hosted and supported events that drew thousands of people to Scottsdale,” the appeals court ruling said.
The local government office worked with a national bureau to arrange for speakers who were paid thousands to come to the city and took payments from vendors to participate in these events, the appeals court ruling said. The office also “employed several forms of media and dedicated phone lines to publicize its events.”
Dennis Mahon and his twin brother Daniel, who had ties to the neo-Nazi group White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and its founder, Thomas Metzger, were arrested in 2009 after a five-year undercover investigation involving a female informant who put a Confederate flag in trailer park home and befriended the Mahons.
In an attempt to cement her friendship, the informant also gave two sexually provocative pictures to the Mahons, trial testimony revealed. In one picture, the federal informant wore a white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a Nazi swastika.
As the friendship flourished, the woman’s conversations with the Mahons were secretly recorded, providing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents with leads to unsolved bombings, court records disclose.
Dennis Mahon showed the woman how to make bombs and bragged about bombing a Jewish community center, an abortion clinic, an Internal Revenue Service building and an immigration facility, court documents alleged. He also talked to the informant about the Scottsdale bombing, claiming he didn’t do it but that he assisted white police officers who did.
Federal prosecutors, however, produced evidence showing Dennis Mahon placed a call to the diversity office before the bombing, claiming that the White Aryan Resistance movement was growing in Scottsdale. “There’s a few white people who are standing up,” he said.
Daniel Mahon, who shared his twin brother’s white supremacy beliefs, was acquitted of the only charge he faced -- conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives.