'Hail Bob Mathews:' Member of The Order reminisces from federal prison
As white supremacists funding plots go, logging federal lands and robbing pimps probably aren’t the most lucrative ideas out there.
But, those are what The Order tried in its early days. And, Gary Yarbrough can’t help but share the memories.
In a letter dated December 8, 2017 and posted online by his wife, Yarbrough recalls early stories of the white separatist group that wanted to create a white homeland in the northwestern United States.
Yarbrough’s recollections come despite complaints by him and his wife, Susan Hillman, that the U.S. Parole Commission and the Bureau of Prisons continue to deny him early release from prison because of his ties to racist and white nationalist groups.
Yarbrough, who joined The Order not long after its inception, is currently being held in the SuperMax prison in Florence, Colorado. He’s scheduled for release October 28, 2024.
Yarbrough is one of three members of The Order still in federal prison. The others, 66-year-old Randolph George Duey, and 70-year-old Richard Scutari, are scheduled for release from prison in 2043 and 2025, respectively.
A fourth member of The Order, David Tate, is serving life in prison in Missouri for shooting a state trooper.
Hillman posted the most recent missive from Yarbrough on December 17, 2017.
In the letter, Yarbrough doesn’t use the name The Order, saying he is “not at liberty to designate” the name of the group “at this moment.”
But Yarbrough recounts how he was told by Robert Jay Mathews, the founder of The Order, about early funding ideas that didn’t work in the tone of an older man recounting the glory days of getting started in life.
Logging was out because “the men were a bit lazy,” Yarbrough wrote. Counterfeiting money bombed out because fellow member Bruce Carroll Pierce was arrested trying to pass the phony money.
And, the last failed idea was robbing pimps in Spokane, Washington. That attempt got them nothing.
The group eventually turned to robbing armored cars, netting $3.8 million from one particularly daring hold up near Ukiah, California
“There really was some crazy and very funny incidences during our exploits,” Yarbrough wrote. “Some very incredible events, as well as doings that are best left unsaid for the time being.”
Among those “incredible events” and “exploits” of The Order was the shooting death of Denver radio host Alan Berg.
No one was ever charged with shooting Berg, but David Eden Lane, a founding member of The Order, was sentenced to 190 consecutive years in prison for his role in the death. He died in prison in 2007.
And, the FBI identified a gun found in Yarbrough’s home in Sandpoint, Idaho, as the weapon used to kill Berg.
While in prison, Yarbrough, the one-time security chief for Aryan Nations, has told the U.S. Parole Commission he is “opposed to injustice,” and said he joined the “Christian Separatist” group The Order while “young” and “impressionable.”
“I am not a white supremacist and I never believed such an odious concept,” Yarbrough told the commission. “I am not anti-government.”
But, much of Yarbrough’s letter memorializes Mathews, who died in 1984 during a firefight with the FBI on Whidbey Island, Washington.
“Bob was a true hero of his folk, and as long as we remember him, he will always live,” Yarbrough wrote. “May his spirit dwell within and inspire us all.”
And, despite his insistence that The Order ceased to exist 33 years ago, Yarbrough apparently holds close to some parts of the experience. He signed the letter:
“Hail Bob Mathews I am Barbaras,” a reference to his code name within The Order.