The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Before he allegedly robbed a bank, stole a pickup truck, killed a man and then got into a shootout that left him and a young state trooper dead in small town Wisconsin on Tuesday, Steven Snyder was reportedly a racist skinhead with ties to the National Alliance (NA), once the best organized and most dangerous neo-Nazi group in the country.
In 1996, when Snyder was 19, he was part of a group of skinheads, armed with pipes and baseball bats, that attacked a group of blacks and Latinos at their home in Fond du Lac, Wis., according to a Milwaukee television station.
When police arrived, most of the skinheads scattered, but Snyder was captured. Police then discovered, according to the station, that Snyder had white supremacist tattoos and was carrying printed cards promoting the NA. He later spent 50 days in jail for his role in the bloody brawl.
Fast forward 19 years to Tuesday afternoon when a man – later identified as the now 38-year-old Snyder – walked into a bank in the Village of Wausaukee, fired a shot into the ceiling and escaped in an bank employee’s pickup truck with an undisclosed amount of cash.
At 2:30 pm, about 30 minutes after the bank robbery, police were notified that a man, Thomas Christ, 59, had been found dead along the side of a road. Near the body was the stolen pickup truck, its motor still running. It appears Snyder stole Christ’s vehicle to continue his escape.
Three hours later in Fond du Lac, the site of the skinhead brawl, a Wisconsin state trooper, Trevor Casper, 21, spotted Snyder.
The trooper and the suspect exchanged gunfire and both men were killed.
Snyder lived in suburban Detroit, where he ran his own cement mason business. According to New Richmond News, the FBI says Snyder is a suspect in at least two bank robberies that bloody day and other unsolved robberies in and outside of Wisconsin.
Casper, the young state trooper who finally stopped Snyder’s rampage, had just graduated from the State Patrol Academy in December and had completed 12 weeks with a training officer, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Casper was the first Wisconsin state trooper to be fatally shot in the line of duty in nearly 43 years and just minutes away, the Journal said, from completing his first solo shift.
The man reportedly arrested in the aftermath of a shooting spree in Mesa, Ariz., today sports tattoos that identify him as a neo-Nazi. What’s more, a local retired detective says he is a longtime white supremacist skinhead associated with major racist groups.
Ryan Giroux, who allegedly murdered one person and wounded five others earlier today and was arrested after a frenzied manhunt, was released from prison in Arizona in 2013. According to prison records, he has convictions for attempt to commit aggravated assault, marijuana, theft, and second degree burglary. Records indicate that he was sentenced to a total of about 14 years in prison.
The Arizona prison system’s mug shot of Giroux shows his face covered in white supremacist tattoos: where his shaven eyebrows used to be, the words “SKIN” and “HEAD”; and on his left temple, the number “88,” which is neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler (because H is the 8th letter of the alphabet); and, on his chin, a “Thor’s Hammer,” a symbol used by adherents of Odinism, a pre-Christian faith that has been adopted by many white supremacists.
A retired Mesa Police detective who once infiltrated local skinhead groups told Hatewatch that he knew Giroux from previous encounters, and that Giroux was a member of Hammerskin Nation, a notoriously violent racist skinhead group, and an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood, a national prison gang with a long list of murders to its credit. “He’s a violent guy,” said the former detective, who knew Giroux as a young skinhead in the 1990s and early 2000s . “I think his time in prison contributed to that.”
Giroux, 41, has been in and out of Arizona prisons since 1993, when he was arrested for burglary and marijuana possession. His most recent prison stint, for an attempt to commit aggravated assault, began in 2007 and ended in October 2013.
According to early reports, the rampage apparently began before 9 a.m. at the Tri City Inn, a Mesa motel, when three people were shot in a room by the suspect. One of those, a male, died at the scene; two women in the room were wounded by the shooter.
The suspect then apparently ran across the street to a nearby bistro café and shot a man there. That victim then ran across the street to the motel, where medical personnel had arrived to treat the first victims, and he received treatment there.
The shooter then hijacked a car from a woman at the parking lot of an adjacent technical school and drove down a nearby boulevard for about a mile, and then pulled into a large apartment complex. Once there, he apparently shot and wounded a man outside in the parking lot. He then crossed the street to a nearby apartment and broke into it. The occupant of the apartment he invaded was left unhurt.
About two hours after the rampage began, Mesa police successfully cornered Giroux and captured him with the use of Tasers. He was led away from the scene in a DNA suit designed to preserve evidence on his person.
During the search for Giroux, officials at nearby Adams Elementary School put the school on shutdown, and officials at nearby Pima Medical Center similarly locked down their facility. After his arrest, there was a flood of cars from the area as people who had been put under lockdown fled, and parents arrived to take their children home from the school.
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… )