The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
On the day he was sentenced, a 28-year-old neo-Nazi skinhead who viciously stabbed a black man in the head with scissors had an surprising epiphany.
“We have more in common than we don’t,” Ryan Zietlow-Brown told his victim in court, apologizing for the hate crime he committed in downtown Santa Barbara, Calif., in August 2011.
Zietlow-Brown was sentenced on Tuesday to 22 years and 4 months in prison after pleading no contest in early January to felony charges of attempted murder and mayhem with a hate crime motivation, the Santa Barbara Independent reported today.
Defense attorney Steven Andrade told the court that Zietlow-Brown had been awake for five days, high on methamphetamine, and that he suffered from a “brain irregularity” causing impulsive behavior. Andrade argued that the crime was more a consequence of Zietlow-Brown being “angry and out of control” rather than being racially motivated.
Prosecutor Kim Siegel said Zietlow-Brown was involved in multiple racially based fights prior to his arrest, showing “complete disregard for human safety and life,” the newspaper reported. She disagreed with a defense claim that the young man has given up his white supremacist affiliations.
Addressing the court, the defendant also apologized his mother, Shelya Rosenbaum — who is Jewish and of African-American descent — for his beliefs.
After sentencing, she told the newspaper she and her husband had spent tens of thousands of dollars on boot camps and therapy, but “no amount of treatment or money can overcome addiction.” She also apologized to the victim and gave him a hug as they left the courtroom.
A neo-Nazi skinhead with a criminal record faces sentencing next month for a hate crime in which he used a pair of scissors to stab an African-American man in the head in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2011.
Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown, also known as Ryan Christopher Rosenbaum, pleaded no-contest Tuesday in Santa Barbara
Superior Court to felony charges of attempted murder and mayhem. He faces up to 22 years in prison.
As part of the plea, Zietlow-Brown, 28, acknowledged he committed the felonies as part of his skinhead gang affiliation and that the offenses were hate crimes as described by California state law, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kimberly Siegel told Hatewatch.
A “no contest” plea means the defendant acknowledges that he or she would be found guilty based on the facts of the case, if it were to go to trial.
According to court testimony, Zietlow-Brown encountered two men on Aug. 12, 2011, as they walked to a McDonald’s on State Street in Santa Barbara. The two co-workers – one black and one white – were singing a song by a well-known rap group.
Zietlow-Brown approached and asked the victim “if the boy [with him] was white.” When the victim replied, “Yes, why are you asking?” Zietlow-Brown responded, “Tell him to ….[expletive] start acting like it.” The victim told Zietlow-Brown to mind his own business and continued walking.
Minutes later, as the two men were walking back to work, Zietlow-Brown approached them again, now armed with a pair of scissors he had stolen from a nearby store, Siegel said.
Zietlow-Brown attacked the victim, stabbing him multiple times in the head before fleeing to the home of a female friend. He admitted the stabbing to her and she assisted in wiping blood from the scissors, Siegel said. Zietlow-Brown later was arrested based on descriptions of the attacker provided by eyewitnesses.
“The victim has recovered, but he still experiences pain,” the prosecutor told Hatewatch. “He does have some scarring, both emotional and physical, as a result of this attack.” He is expected to attend the sentencing hearing on Feb. 24.
The case against Zietlow-Brown has been delayed several times as investigators probed his connections to other neo-Nazi skinheads in the Simi Valley and in the state’s prison system, Siegel said.
Zietlow-Brown was an associate of Kenneth Richard Barber, 45, who was convicted in Santa Barbara County of attempted premeditated murder and assault with a deadly weapon for attacking fellow jail inmates, the prosecutor said. Barber is now serving a 40-year-to-life sentence at the California State Prison in Corcoran.
It was a moment of remembrance for the racist right.
Last week, about three dozen racists gathered on Whidbey Island, Wash., to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Robert J. Mathews, who founded a band of white supremacist terrorists intent on starting a race war called The Order. Members of The Order had fled to the island after a gun battle days earlier with FBI agents at a motel in Portland, Ore.
At the cabin, Mathews refused to surrender to the FBI, which later fired flares into the building to force him out. Matthews refused to leave, and died in an inferno when the cabin caught fire.
Because of Mathews’ unwillingness to surrender, he is widely regarded now as a martyr for white nationalists and racists, who annually visit Whidbey Island as part of a pilgrimage of sorts. This year was no different, attracting racists mostly from the Northwest Hammerskins, considered one of the most violent skinhead groups in the country.
A photograph posted on a white supremacist blog honoring Mathews and other members of The Order showed almost three-dozen attendees, their faces pixelated, beneath a Hammerskins crossed-hammers logo. The photo included the caption: “December 8th 2014 – NWHS and friends at Whidbey Island for Martyrs Day! Robert J Mathews!”
In the spring of 1985, just a few months after Mathews’ death, several members of The Order were indicted in nearby Seattle on federal racketeering charges, covering murders, armed robberies, counterfeiting and other crimes the neo-Nazi gang committed in its failed attempt to start a race war.
The leader of the American Front—once facing 30 years in prison—received a sentence of just six-months last week for teaching firearms and combat skills to his neo-Nazi followers, described as a heavily-armed, white supremacy militia.
The sentencing of Marcus “Mark” Faella on Nov. 10 in Kissimmee, Fla., was an anti-climatic end to what had been the largest domestic terrorism case ever prosecuted in that state. He was convicted by a jury in September.
The judge denied a request from defense attorney Ronald L. Ecker II to reverse Faella’s conviction on the grounds the jury was prejudiced by a “political flier” showing masked American Front members posing with assault weapons and a Molotov cocktail.
Faella, 41, likely will be released from jail within four months, but he will serve two years of “community control” with 24-hour electronic monitoring and 10 years probation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The neo-Nazi leader, his wife, Patricia, and 11 other members of the American Front were arrested in May 2012 after police raided what court documents described as a fortified training compound on 10-acres owned by the couple near St. Cloud, Fla.
The arrests came after police raided what court documents described as a fortified compound near St. Cloud, Fla., where Faella and his wife, Patricia, 39, were accused of conducting illegal paramilitary training, attempting to shoot into an occupied dwelling and prejudice while committing a crime. Some of the combat training, authorities said, was carried out by an American Front member who was a military reservist from Missouri.
But, for reasons that have never been fully explained, the case began to fall apart shortly after the handcuffs were slapped on the suspects. Last April, prosecutors moved to dismiss charges against nine of the American Front members. The FBI said it was a state case, while local authorities said it was a federal investigation. One apparent weakness in the prosecution’s case involved a surveillance video released to defense attorneys who said the tape didn’t show any crimes being committed.
Despite his sister’s and ex-girlfriend’s dramatic testimony against him, Ross Hack, the alleged neo-Nazi mastermind behind the ambush murders of two anti-racist skinheads 16 years ago, was found not guilty today by a federal jury in Las Vegas.
Hack’s co-defendant, Leland Jones, was also acquitted after the two week trial that included testimony from an unlikely parade of white supremacists and meth addicts and at least one apparent Holocaust denier, who testified as a character witness for the defense.
The racially diverse jury deliberated for more than a day and a half before announcing its verdict around 9:30 a.m. local time.
The verdicts bring to a close a cold case revealing a hot war. For decades, racist and anti-racist skinheads have battled in the streets and music venues, often violently. Rarely, though, has the conflict resulted in murder, let alone a double murder as it did in a remote patch of sand and rocky dirt in the desert about 20 miles northwest of Las Vegas, sometime between the last minutes of July 3 and the first minutes of July 4, 1998.
That’s when the anti-racist activists, Lin “Spit” Newborn and Daniel Shersty, were ambushed and shot to death, prosecutors say, by six neo-Nazi skinheads, including two women who lured the victims to the desert with the promise of a night of partying.
Also testifying against Hack and Jones was John “Polar Bear” Butler, the only one of the skinhead conspirators to be tried and convicted of the slayings. Butler, like the two women, said the ambush was Hack’s idea and Hack and Jones had in fact fired the first shots.
But there was no physical evidence, no fingerprints or DNA or CSI television show science to tie the defendants to the 16-year-old crime scene.
The not-guilty verdict was a blow to the government, which has a conviction rate in federal court of more than 90%. The verdict was a moment of pure elation for “the entire Hack family,” Hack’s lawyer, William Kennedy, a federal public defender, told Hatewatch today. “This has been hanging over Ross’ head for 16 years,” Kennedy said. “He didn’t plan it. He didn’t participate in it. He wasn’t there. He didn’t do it. And he’s always been not guilty.”
Jones’ lawyer, James Hartsell, told Hatewatch that the jurors obviously took the case “very seriously in how long it took them to deliberate.”
“They didn’t rush to judgment,” Hartsell said. “They considered all the evidence and or lack of evidence before rendering a verdict.”
During the trial, Kennedy repeatedly attacked the veracity of the government’s star witnesses, branding them a trio of liars and meth addicts, willing to say anything to reduce their time behind bars. Butler, with an extensive criminal record and a longtime addiction to meth, was convicted in state court of the murders in 2000. Now 44, he is serving two life sentences. ( continue to full post… )
LAS VEGAS – The tragedy of racial hatred was on full display in a federal courtroom here Monday as the prosecution rested its case against a pair of alleged neo-Nazis. They are accused of the ambush murders of two anti-racist skinheads 16 years ago in the desert on the outskirts of the city.
Melissa Hack, herself a neo-Nazi at the time of the killings, testified against her brother, Ross, the alleged mastermind of the ambush, as their mother and other relatives looked on from the back of the courtroom.
“My family is very upset with me,” Melissa Hack, a defendant in the case before she pleaded guilty last May and agreed to testify, told the court in a voice that went from whisper to wail during her more than two hours on the stand. “They don’t believe me because they think the FBI is trying to frame my entire family.”
The truth, she said, is that she knowingly lured the anti-racists – “our enemies” – to their deaths on a remote patch of sand and dirt where Ross Hack, his co-defendant Leland Jones, 33, and two other white supremacists shot to death Lin “Spit” Newborn, 24, and Daniel Shersty, 20, in the late night desert darkness of July 3, 1998.
“Ross, why,” Melissa Hack, 39, shouted from the witness stand Monday across the courtroom at her 42-year-old brother, gently rocking in his chair at the defense table. “Our lives are ruined. My mother’s life is ruined. The victims’ lives are ruined.
“Why?” she cried. “Because of fucking hate. That’s why.”
Jones and the Hacks were arrested and charged by federal authorities in 2012, 14 years after the murders.
Until now, Melissa Hack’s former boyfriend, John Butler, 43, a meth addict and neo-Nazi, was the only person tried in the slayings. He was arrested about 10 days after the killings. He was eventually convicted and was brought to court last week from prison, where he has been since 2001, serving two life sentences. He testified that Jones and Ross Hack, armed with pistols, fired the first shots. ( continue to full post… )
A neo-Nazi skinhead and his wife stood side-by-side, smiling at each other and wearing his-and-her handcuffs, as they pleaded guilty today in a South Carolina courtroom to murdering a stranger and his wife because they found his name on a list of registered sex offenders.
Jeremy and Christine Moody, the South Carolina representatives of a racist skinhead gang called Crew 41, were arrested last summer shortly after Charles Parker, 59, and his wife, Gretchen, 51, were found shot and stabbed to death in their home on July 21 in the town of Jonesville in Union County, SC.
The Moodys also pleaded guilty to kidnapping, first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
They each received a sentence of life in prison.
Jeremy Moody, who is 30, confessed early and often to authorities that he killed Parker because Parker was a convicted sex offender. Moody said when he was arrested that it was his intention to rid the world of sex offenders and pedophiles. When he was arrested at his parent’s home, The State reported, investigators found that Moody had written down the name of another sex offender he apparently planned to murder.
As for why Parker’s wife was killed, Moody told investigators at the time that she was simply “a casualty of war.”
Union County Sheriff David Taylor told Hatewatch last summer that Moody’s 36-year-old wife Christine was much more tight-lipped in the beginning of the investigation. But she quickly grew jealous at the media attention her husband was receiving and she too began to boast.
Taylor said Christine bragged about cutting Gretchen Parker’s throat. “She wants to get the glory,” the sheriff said. “She’s cold as hell.”
It appears not much has changed since she was locked up. When asked by the judge today if she had received any promises if she pleaded guilty, Christine grinned and replied, according to The State, “just fame and fortune.”
Before that bloody weekend last July hardly anyone had heard of Crew 41, also known as Die Auserwahlten – “the chosen few.” The crew had small chapters in several states, including South Carolina, where the Moodys appear to have been the only members. They had been trying to recruit more members on social media at the time of their arrest.
Johnathan “Monster” Schmidt, a heavily tattooed California transplant living in small-town Nebraska, founded the crew six months earlier. The same weekend the Parkers were killed, Schmidt was arrested and charged with the brutal assault of a man during a street fight in a Nebraska college town.
“I am out on bail facing 50 years in prison,” Schmidt wrote on VK, a Russian version of Facebook. “And our South Carolina chapter has been picked up on murder charges. Having a hard first years but hopefully things turn around for us.”
On his Facebook page, Schmidt added, “Though I can’t blame them for their actions, this in no way was ordered.” ( continue to full post… )
The burly, heavily tattooed founder of a neo-Nazi skinhead crew, who faced up to 50 years in prison for a brutal assault last summer, was acquitted Wednesday by a jury in Buffalo County, Nebraska.
The jury, according to the Kearney Hub, deliberated for seven hours over two days before finding Johnathan M. Schmidt, 29, not guilty of felony first-degree assault in a confrontation on the night of July 21 that left a man battered and bleeding in the street, his face and teeth fractured, his nose broken.
Schmidt, who is covered with tattoos from head to toe, including numerous markings on his face and a large swastika on his torso, was picked out of a photo lineup shortly after the assault.
Yet, from the beginning, Schmidt, who is known as “Monster,” proclaimed his innocence and insisted he was a victim of mistaken identity.
Six months before, Schmidt founded Die Auserwahlten, also known as Crew 41, a small band of neo-Nazi skinheads scattered across the country and little known until a particularly violent weekend last July. ( continue to full post… )
Chad Bostwick only wants the same “opportunities most parents cherish” – to tuck in his daughter at night, to be the first person she sees when she wakes up, to go to church on Sunday mornings, to knock back a couple of cold ones together once she’s a teenager, and even to beat up or kill her future boyfriends.
Bostwick, 40, was until recently a longtime, patched member of the ultra-violent skinhead group Volksfront and was considered one of its most aggressive members. He has a long rap sheet that includes multiple assaults in addition to charges of burglary, theft, illegal weapons possession and domestic abuse. He’s also known as the lead singer for the Volksfront band Enforcer, which recently signed a recording deal with the white-power label Get Some 88. -
Now, Hatewatch has obtained court records that provide a glimpse into Bostwick’s tumultuous family life, portraying him as a deadbeat dad who owes more than $54,000 in back child support payments and whose violence and criminality represent a threat to his children’s well-being.
The Folkish Women’s Front, Volksfront’s sister organization, has a creed that reads, “One Front, One Family” – a sentiment that does not seem to be shared by Volksfront men like Bostwick, who has six children (according to a court statement by one’s mother) by at least three different women.
The court records obtained by Hatewatch were filed in a Nebraska court, where Bostwick is seeking expanded visitation rights, including overnight visits, for his youngest daughter, who is nearly 2.
“I do not believe that [my daughter] would be/is safe with Chad and believe that he will only place her in a situation of danger and also to where she is to be manipulated, treated as property and taught that criminal activity, violence and a lack of responsibility are the norm and preferred ways of life,” wrote the girl’s mother in an Aug. 12, 2013, affidavit submitted to the court.
His former girlfriend alleges in her Aug. 12 affidavit that in the fall of 2011, after discovering that she was pregnant, Bostwick told her that she “‘trapped’ him, he did not want to have a child with [her] and that he would not be signing a birth certificate or held legally responsible for another child.” Even so, according to other statements by the girl’s mother, Bostwick demanded that she and the baby attend national Volksfront events after the pair, who were unmarried, had separated or “he would take [their daughter] anyway and she wouldn’t see her again.”
The couple separated in November 2011. “His increased hostility and threats to hit me and ‘beat me up’ led me to realize that continuing a relationship and/or living with Chad would pose a risk to my daughter mentally, emotionally and physically,” she wrote in the Aug. 12 affidavit. ( continue to full post… )
This past Saturday morning, the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS) held their seventh annual rally in Philadelphia to celebrate Leif Erikson, the Nordic explorer who is believed to have been the first European to land in North America. The 40 or so racist skinheads who showed up at Fairmount Park were met by about 100 anti-racist counter-protesters.
Before the rally, a shouting match took place at the staging area at the top of Lemon Hill Drive with counter-protesters screaming, among other things, “death to the Nazis, power to the people.” Afterward, both racists and anti-racists marched to the Thorfinn Karlsefni statue in the park. Karlsefni was a Nordic explorer who founded a North American settlement that lasted three years.
Members of several racist groups were in attendance besides the KSS, including Vinlanders from Indiana and Oklahoma, the Advanced White Society, the Blood and Honour “Social Club,” and the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN). Matt Heimbach of the TYN spoke at the rally. “We must stand united against opponents of our race,” Heimbach told the crowd, according to philly.com. “Our day will come and our foes will be defeated.” Also speaking at the rally was Brien James, a founder of the Vinlanders Social Club.
The organizers of the event, the KSS, were founded in 2001. At one time, the KSS had many members and several chapters in Pennsylvania, but it has dwindled as of late. In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center listed only two chapters of the group, in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Several well-known members have been arrested over the last decade for violent crimes, but in recent years, the group has tried to distance itself from those incidents. ( continue to full post… )