SEATTLE (Feb. 10)
Ten members of a radical neo-Nazi gang have been given stiff prison terms ranging between 40 and 100 years for following a bizarre plot to overthrow the government and establish an Aryan society.
U.S. District Judge Walter McGovern made little comment when members of the group, The Order, were sentenced here last week for racketeering and conspiracy.
Prosecutors, during a three-and-a-half month trial last fall, accused the group of committing two murders, robbery, counterfeiting, and other crimes as it sought to kill Jews, deport minorities, and create an all-white nation.
The harshest sentences went to those accused of committing murder. McGovern ordered a 100-year sentence for Bruce Carroll Pierce, suspected of being the triggerman in the June 1984 machinegun slaying of Denver radio personality Alan Berg.
Government authorities claimed Pierce, 31, of Hayden Lake, Idaho, and several other group members decided to kill Berg because he was Jewish and relished baiting anti-Semites who phoned him during his call-in show.
Also given a 100-year sentence was Randolph Duey, 34, of Spokane, Wash. Duey was accused of murdering fellow white supremacist Walter West because he was believed to be leaking information about The Order.
WARNS THAT ‘THE BLOOD WILL FLOW’
Gary Lee Yarbrough, sentenced to 60 years for racketeering and armed robbery, compared the defendants to patriots, and told McGovern during the hearing that the lengthy trial was a sham.
“This was a political trial,” said Yarbrough, 29, of Sandpoint, Idaho. “These men are no more criminals than the men who took part in the Boston Tea Party.” Yarbrough warned the judge that The Order’s cause would be promoted by “200,000 faithful members and 100,000 supporters. There will be many more. The blood will flow and it grieves me.”
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Wilson, who headed the government’s six-member prosecution team, praised the sentences and said they would serve as warning for others who commit serious crimes for ideological purposes.
The youngest Order member, 23-year-old Richard Kemp of Salinas, Calif., was given a 60-year prison term, while the six other members were sentenced to 40 years each.
Eight of the 10 defendants have said they will appeal their sentences to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, while the remaining two have not yet filed the required appeal notices.
10 YEARS BEFORE PAROLE
Federal law requires the defendants to serve at least 10 years before they can be considered for parole, although they are likely to serve longer because of the nature of their crimes, a federal probation officer here said.
Jurors in the trial said they found the only female defendant, 52-year-old Jean Craig of Laramie, Wyoming, guilty of surveilling Berg before he was killed, but they did not say whether they believed that Order members were involved in the murder.
The case was tried under the Racketeer and Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which requires a jury to find the accused guilty of a minimum of two crimes committed to further the illegal group. The jury in The Order case was not required to say which two crimes constituted the minimum for each defendant.
David Lane, believed to have driven the getaway car in the Berg murder, read a long statement during the sentencing hearing, reiterating the group’s aim of saving the Aryan race from impurity. “I’ve given all that I am and all that I have to awaken my people from their death,” said Lane, 46, of Denver, who was sentenced to 40 years.
All the defendants were convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering in the trial that ended December 30. Some defendants were also convicted of additional federal crimes, including armored car robberies and illegal weapons possession.