A Houston man has been sentenced to five years in prison in Florida for his role in an armed confrontation with protesters following a speaking engagement by Richard Spencer on Oct. 19, 2017.
Police arrested Colton Fears, his brother William Fears and Tyler TenBrink after Spencer’s ill-received speech on the University of Florida campus. According to police reports, the Fears brothers began yelling praises of Adolf Hitler and throwing up Nazi salutes from the window of their Jeep, which drew the attention of nearby protesters. The brothers then urged TenBrink to shoot the protesters shouting, “I’m going to f------ kill you,” “kill them” and “shoot them.”
TenBrink got out of the vehicle and fired at the protesters once, missing the group. TenBrink then hopped back in the Jeep and the three fled the scene with Colton Fears at the wheel, The Gainesville Sun reported. The three were arrested later that evening.
At his sentencing Monday, Colton Fears disavowed the white supremacist views he shared with his brother and TenBrink. Fears also apologized to the victims as well as the city.
“I am embarrassed to be entangled in your court system, your honor,” Fears said. “I wish I would have never came to Gainesville. Everything that happened that day is a regret. This has destroyed my life. It’s time to put this in my past and move forward.”
Fears pleaded guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder last August, agreeing to testify against TenBrink.
Tenbrink was sentenced Feb. 27 to 15 years in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Tenbrink was quoted by The Washington Post on his dedication to the “14 words,” a popular white supremacist slogan. Charges were dropped against William Fears, who was extradited to Texas to stand trial for unrelated charges there.
Both Fears brothers attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia earlier that same year. William was filmed yelling: “Shoot! Fire the first shot of the race war!” Colton was spotted marching with a “sonnenrad” shield, a symbol favored by the SS and replicated on the cover of the New Zealand shooter’s “The Great Replacement” manifesto and on his body armor.
Alachua County Circuit Judge James Colaw tacked three years onto the minimum two-year sentence, noting that Fears played a role in a crime that was “intended to scare, threaten or harm.”
Colton Fears was the last defendant sentenced for his part in the confrontation with protesters after Spencer’s speech.
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post via Getty Images