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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: racism

Taco truck protestor gets 7 years for guns

A Whitman County man who bragged about being involved with racist taco-truck protests in Kootenai County has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for unlawful gun possession.

Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop's lawyer, Roger Peven, asked for him to receive between 15 and 21 months in prison, according to court documents, but U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley rejected that request on Wednesday.

Hop, 31, is to be on probation for three years after his release.

Hop was arrested during an FBI investigation April 20, 2011, for allegedly possessing an Izhmash 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun on March 25.

His brother, Michael Hop, said he was set up by an FBI informant who supplied the shotgun after suggesting they go shooting.

Federal agents searched his home in Pullman on April 20 and seized that shotgun, then searched a property in Colton and seized four rifles, a shotgun and more than 150 rounds of ammunition.

Authorities say Hop had talked of targeting abortion clinics.

Hop was convicted in California of third-degree rape of a child in 2005, a felony that prohibits him from possessing firearms or ammunition. The conviction stemmed from a consensual relationship with a girl who was 14 when she first met Hop. She wrote a letter that urged Whaley to keep him out of jail.

“I strongly believe he is NOT a danger to society,” the woman, now 23, wrote. “At the time I was being physically and mentally abused, he was my lifesaver.”

Other friends and family wrote letters supporting Hop, including the mother of his 6-year-old son.

Plea replaces life sentence w/ 3 years

A Spokane man whose three-strikes trial was halted because of concerns about racist comments made by jurors has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

 Bobby S. Galloway, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for third-degree assault after pleading guilty last week before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.

Galloway already has two convictions for violent felonies. Had he been convicted of first-degree assault as originally charged, a judge would have no choice but to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Galloway was arrested last May after stabbing a man outside the Top Hat Tavern, 6412 N. Division St.

He was on trial in February, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen declared a mistrial after a juror reported inappropriate, racially toned comments being made in the jury room, court officials say.

Witness sought in three-strikes case

Police are looking for a witness in an assault case that could put the defendant in prison for life. 

Morgan S. Snider, 23, (right) is expected to testify in the first-degree assault trial of Bobby S. Galloway, but police said this week that she still has not been located.

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen declared a mistrial Monday in Galloway's case after a juror reported inappropriate, racially toned comments being made in the jury room, court officials say.

Galloway (left) faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of felony assault because he already has two previous convictions for violent felonies.

Galloway, 24, is accused of stabbing Mickey Davis during a fight May 5 outside the Top Hat Tavern, 6412 N. Division St.

His new trial is set to begin April 2. Snider is wanted on misdemeanor driving warrants.

Anyone with information on Snider's location is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Conn. mayor blasted for ‘taco’ quip

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN,Associated Press
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The mayor of a working-class city roiled by allegations of police discrimination against Hispanics faced scathing criticism Wednesday from officials including the governor for saying he “might have tacos” as a way to do something for the community.

The comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo brought unwanted attention to the leadership of the New Haven suburb, where four police officers were arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges including deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice. The mayor was also criticized for his recent reappointment of police Chief Leonard Gallo, who was apparently referred to in the indictment as a co-conspirator.

The four officers are accused of waging a campaign of harassment against Latino residents and businesses, including assaulting people while they were handcuffed and intimidating people who tried to investigate or report misconduct allegations. All four have pleaded not guilty.

The taco comment came as Maturo, a Republican, was being interviewed late Tuesday by a reporter from New York's WPIX-TV, Mario Diaz, who asked, “What are you doing for the Latino community today?”

Maturo's response: “I might have tacos when I go home; I'm not quite sure yet.”

He initially defended his response and said it was being unfairly twisted. But he later apologized, saying he'd had a long day of interviews.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the comments are “repugnant.”

“They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable. Being tired is no excuse. He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he's going to do to repair the damage he's done. And he needs to do it today,” Malloy said.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, a native of Puerto Rico, said he was “disgusted” by Maturo's comment. East Haven Democratic Town Committee Chairman Gene Ruocco called for Maturo's resignation.

The comment “goes to the root of the racial profiling allegations here in East Haven,” Ruocco said in a statement. “Everyone knows the seriousness of this matter and for him, as the leader of our community, to say something so utterly insensitive is a complete disgrace.”

East Haven resident Marcia Chacon said she and other Latinos in her community were offended by Maturo's comment.

“This is an insult against us,” she said. “I thought 'Wow, here we are in East Haven, and this is the person who is supposed to help us.'”

Racial profiling complaints surged in recent years in East Haven, a predominantly white suburb on Long Island Sound where the Hispanic population more than doubled in size over a decade to 10.3 percent of its 28,000 people. Last month, a lengthy civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded there was a pattern of biased policing in East Haven, where only one of the roughly 50 police officers speaks Spanish.

Neighboring New Haven, in contrast, has drawn national attention for its sympathetic approach to immigrants, including becoming the first city in the nation to issue municipal identification cards for all residents — including illegal immigrants — to provide services such as banking and using the library.

The indictment of the East Haven police officers says a leader in the police department, described only as co-conspirator 1, blocked efforts by the police commission to investigate misconduct allegations. That refers to Chief Leonard Gallo, according to his attorney, Jon Einhorn, who denied that Gallo blocked the investigation and said it was unfair for him to be mentioned when he is not charged.

The allegations show federal authorities are concerned not just with the actions of the four police officers but also with the wider culture, said Jeffrey Meyer, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a former federal prosecutor.

“The significance of the allegations against co-conspirator 1 go to the overall tolerance and permissiveness of this police department with respect to the abuses committed by the indicted officers,” Meyer said.

The investigation was continuing, but experts said federal authorities sometimes don't charge a person named as a co-conspirator.

“He's probably losing some sleep,” Stan Twardy, a defense attorney and former U.S. attorney for Connecticut, said of Gallo. “The uncertainty of it is going to be uncomfortable for him.”

Maturo is a lifelong East Haven resident and Republican who was mayor from 1997 to 2007 and re-elected again in the fall.

After taking office Nov. 19, he reinstated Gallo as police chief. Gallo had been on paid administrative leave since federal authorities began investigating in 2010.

“I stand behind the police department,” Maturo said Tuesday. “We have a great police department.”

The Rev. James Manship, a priest at St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven who has advocated for East Haven's Latinos, said he was incredulous that Gallo was welcomed back.

“I remain absolutely dumbfounded on how the mayor would reinstate Chief Gallo, who was at the helm of the police department when the culture and these things were happening,” said Manship, who was arrested in 2009 while videotaping East Haven police officers to document harassment complaints as officers removed license plates from the wall of a Hispanic couple's store.

Maturo released a statement Wednesday to express his “sincerest apologies” to East Haven and its Latino residents and business owners for the taco comment, asking residents to “have faith in me and our community as we address the challenges arising out of the past days' events.”

“Unfortunately, I let the stress of the situation get the best of me and inflamed what is already a serious and unfortunate situation,” he said. “I regret my insensitive comment and realize that it is my job to lead by example.”

Woman pleads not guilty to 4 hate crimes

A woman arrested after a black man said she dressed in a white sheet and yelled racial epithets at him and his two children on Halloween night has been charged with four hate crimes.

Sharyl Ann Curtis, 42, pleaded not guilty Monday to four counts of malicious harassment - Washington's hate-crime statute - for the alleged incident in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street.

She was arrested early Nov. 1 after Tyree Brown told Spokane police he opened his front door to her yelling racial epithets while wearing a white sheet with “KKK” written on it. She also allegedly did the same thing to Brown's neighbor, Teravia McDonald.

Curtis is pictured courtesy KHQ-TV. Check out their interview with her here.

Curtis also sprayed a liquid at Brown's children that she said was bleach that would make everyone white, according to a probable cause affidavit written by police. Police said they found Curtis sitting in a nearby “yelling unintelligibly.”

While being treated at a hospital for a broken nose apparently sustained during a fight with pursuing neighbors, Curtis told officers “I will raise my son white power” and used a racial slur while raising her right arm in the air, according to the affidavit. She also allegedly said her son would shoot police and she would provide the ammunition.

Curtis posted $2,500 bond after her arrest and remains out of jail. Her trial is scheduled to begin April 2.

Spokane racist guilty of beating inmate

A Spokane white supremacist scheduled to be released from federal prison last month was convicted today in Oklahoma of assaulting another inmate.

Keegan Chance Van Tuyl, 29, likely will be sentenced at least four months from now for the charge of inflicting serious bodily harm against another inmate, a clerk for U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot said today.

Friot convicted Van Tuyl after a brief bench trial today in Oklahoma City.

A grand jury indicted Van Tuyl Sept. 20 for the attack on another inmate at the federal transfer center in Oklahoma City on Dec. 1, 2010.

Van Tuyl punched the inmate several times then stomped his face several times after he fell to the floor, according to the indictment. The incident was captured on surveillance video.

In a letter to The Spokesman-Review, Van Tuyl said the inmate was a sex offender, writing “no good deed goes unpunished.” The victim's criminal convictions could not be independently confirmed.

Van Tuyl recently finished serving a sentencing in maximum security federal prison for violating his probation on a firearms conviction.

Online prison records list him as being released, but he actually was transferred to Oklahoma to face the assault charge.

A member of Van Tuyl's racist group, James D. Bacon, was involved in a similar assault while in custody in Spokane.

FBI: Indicted racist had terrorism plans

A reputed white supremacist convicted last month of a gun charge related to an alleged domestic terrorism plot has been indicted by a grand jury for an alleged identity theft scheme.

Wayde Lynn Kurt, 53, is accused of producing fraudulent identification cards for a “task” for which he had been preparing for years, according to a briefing federal prosecutors wrote for his gun trial last month.

Kurt likened the plan to the Oklahoma City bombing and said he would do everything in his power to stop President Obama from being reelected, prosecutors say.

Kurt said “he didn't want innocent people to die but it was possible they would die,” according to the briefing. Kurt “stated that it would be an act of terrorism of the worst kind and would mean a death sentence if he was caught.”

Kurt wrote a letter to an FBI informant in May 2010 discussing the need to establish a white government based on the gold or silver standard, prosecutors say.

“Kurt also wrote that he would need 30 days to establish a new identity, noting the name 'Wayde Kurt would only bring a bad reputation to a publicly exposed political movement,'” according to the trial briefing.

A jury in U.S. District Court in Spokane convicted Kurt last month of felon in possession of a firearm for five firearms he possessed while target shooting with a white supremacist, David Johnathan Udseth, in August 2010, according to court documents.

Kurt told jurors he spoke of a racist plan with Udseth only to infiltrate the group because its members had assaulted a friend, and he wanted to monitor them. He denies being a white supremacist, said his lawyer, Richard Wall.

Kurt alleges Udseth and the FBI entrapped him, but Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen ruled not reasonable person would believe that prohibited jurors from considering the entrapment defense during deliberations.

Wall expects Kurt will appeal his conviction.

“If he had given that instruction the jury would have acquitted him,” Wall said. “Without the entrapment instruction the only thing they could do was convict him because there was no question he was in possession of the weapons at one point.”

Kurt was arrested on Aug. 30, 2010. He was considered such a risk that the FBI didn’t give him a chance to surrender - an agent ran up and tackled him. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 26.

Now he faces new charges of aggravated identity theft, two counts of unlawful production of an identification card, two counts of unlawful possession of an identification card and one count of making a false statement under a grand jury indictment filed Wednesday. The charges carry up to 15 years in prison.

Kurt was a member of a racist group led by Keegan VanTuyl, 29, (right) who was released from federal prison last week after serving time for violation his probation on a firearms conviction.

Kurt was recruited into the group in late December 2008 after exchanging a racist greeting with key member Daniel “Church” Wilson (left) when encountering him and other group members in downtown Spokane, according to the trial briefing. The group “routinely traveled around Spokane looking for minorities to bait into a verbal and/or physical altercation, a practice referred to by group members as “coon hunting.”“

 Kurt was asked to become the leader of the group after VanTuyl and Wilson were imprisoned, but the group instead disbanded, prosecutors say.

The jury deliberated just a few hours Oct. 21 before convicting Kurt, who has been in jail since his arrest. The conviction is the latest for a convicted currency counterfeiter whose experience with the criminal justice system dates back to at least 1988, when he was acquitted of murder in Snohomish County.

Udseth was sentenced to three years probation Wednesday in U.S. District Court for manufacture of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana in relation to 90 plants and six pounds of harvested pot found during a search at his home in May.

Udseth said he had a medical marijuana card, according to his plea agreement, but such a card only authorizes 15 marijuana plants and a pound and a half of marijuana, and federal law doesn't recognize medical marijuana.

Racial slurs, ‘KKK’ costume lead to arrest

A woman was arrested on suspicion of a hate crime on Halloween after a black man told Spokane police he opened his front door to her yelling racial epithets while wearing a white sheet with “KKK” written on it.

Sharyl Ann Curtis, 42, also sprayed a liquid at Tyree Brown's children that she said was bleach that would make everyone white, according to a probable cause affidavit written by police in support of a malicious harassment charge against Curtis. (Curtis is pictured courtesy KHQ-TV. Check out their interview with her here.)

Police found Curtis sitting in a park near Brown's home in the 5000 block of North Lacey Street “yelling unintelligibly.”

While being treated at a hospital, Curtis allegedly told police “I will raise my son white power” and used a racial slur while raising her right arm in the air, according to the affidavit.

“My son will shoot a cop one day and I will give them the ammo,” Curtis also allegedly said, along with repeated racial epithets against the police.

Brown told police he'd heard a woman yelling racial epithets and asking if he had candy. The sheet fell off when the woman walked down the apartment stairs, and Brown recognized Curtis “from fights and other incidents in the neighborhood.”

Brown's two children were standing in the stairwell when Curtis sprayed the bottle toward them. None of the liquid hit them, but police observed a Halloween decoration that was splashed. Witnesses said Curtis ran to the nearby park and yelled that she would get a gun and shoot everyone. A neighbor confronted her and a fight ensued before police arrived, according to the affidavit.

Curtis left the Spokane County Jail after posting bond imposed during her first court appearance on Tuesday, according to online jail records. She was arrested on a malicious harassment charge last August after a neighbor told police Curtis yelled racial slurs and started a fight. No charges were filed.

Murder spree suspects headed to Wash.

GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — A boyfriend-and-girlfriend duo suspected in a murder spree that left four people dead in three Western states are expected to be returned to Washington state within a month to face charges that could bring the death penalty.

David “Joey” Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, waived their right to an extradition hearing during a brief court appearance Tuesday in Yuba County, north of Sacramento, where they were arrested last week. The pair, who have expressed white supremacist beliefs, is suspected of killing his father, David “Red” Pedersen, 56, and his wife Leslie, 69, about Sept. 26 in Everett, Wash., and, later, two other people, including a 19-year-old man they believed was Jewish.

The pair was charged Monday in the Pedersens' deaths with aggravated first-degree murder in Snohomish County, Wash. Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable in Washington state only by execution or life in prison without release. Prosecutors have not determined whether to pursue the death penalty.

According to a prosecutor's affidavit in support of those charges, authorities have recovered bloody clothing, a knife and stolen credit cards that they believe the couple dumped in an Oregon trash can while on the run.

Grigsby told police she and her boyfriend were heading to Sacramento, Calif., to “kill more Jews” when they were arrested last week in California, the affidavit said.

If true, that could be a basis for federal hate-crime charges. Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, confirmed Tuesday that her office had been in touch with counterparts in Snohomish County as well as federal prosecutors in other states to determine where the pair should be prosecuted.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

Supremacists wanted to ‘kill more Jews’

By GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities have recovered bloody clothing, a knife and stolen credit cards that they believe were in the possession of a couple accused of going on a deadly crime spree across the Pacific Northwest, according to an affidavit.

Prosecutors also say that one of the suspects, Holly Grigsby, claimed that she and her boyfriend, David “Joey” Pedersen, were heading to Sacramento, Calif., during their spree to “kill more Jews” when they were arrested last week in California. Pedersen is pictured right.

The pair, who have expressed white supremacist beliefs, are suspected of killing his father, David “Red” Pedersen, 56, and his wife Leslie, 69, about Sept. 26 in Everett, Wash., and, later, two other people, including a 19-year-old man they believed was Jewish.

The couple fled the state and, on Sept. 29, police found a backpack inside a garbage can in Corvallis, Ore., a deputy prosecutor wrote in a probable cause statement filed Monday in Washington state.

Inside were the bloody clothing, a knife and four credit cards belonging to the elder Pedersen and his wife, authorities said.

The couple faces charges of aggravated first-degree murder. They could face the death penalty if convicted. Their appointed attorney, Donald Wahlberg, said he did not know anything about the case beyond what had been reported.

In interviews with a reporter and police, the couple said they killed Pedersen's father because he molested two young relatives and killed his wife because she knew and still supported him.

Grigsby, 24, confessed during a five-hour, videotaped interview with Oregon state police, Snohomish County, Wash., deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson wrote in a probable cause statement.

Grigsby said the couple planned to travel from Oregon to visit Red Pedersen (pictured left) and his wife — and then kill him by shooting him in the back of the head as he was driving them to a bus station.

She said she was in the passenger seat and took the steering wheel after her boyfriend fired a shot to the back of his head. They then drove to the Pedersens' home in Everett.

Grigsby said she herself slit Leslie Pedersen's throat, and they headed south in Red's Jeep with his body inside.

They ditched the car off a steep embankment, and killed Cody Myers (right), who was on his way to a jazz festival on the Oregon coast, because his name sounded Jewish, according to Matheson's affidavit. Myers was a devout Christian.

When she was arrested, Grigsby said “the couple was on their way to Sacramento to 'kill more Jews,'” Matheson wrote.

Grigsby and Pedersen were arrested outside Yuba City, Calif., when a police officer spotted them in Myers' car. Authorities had been tracking them by use of stolen credit cards and had warned police in several states to be on the lookout for them.

Pedersen, 31, initially refused to talk with police, but on Saturday, he reconsidered.

He admitted murdering a man in Eureka, Calif., on Oct. 3 or 4, the probable cause statement said. The crime matched an open investigation into the death of Reginald Alan Clark, 53, who was found dead with a bullet wound to the head.

Police have not suggested a motive, but Clark is black.

On Sunday, Joey Pedersen, who has spent nearly half his life in prison, summoned a reporter for a California newspaper, the Appeal-Democrat, to the jailhouse for an interview and took “full responsibility” for “everything that's been reported.”

He said he killed his father because he had molested his older sister and an adopted cousin when they were young; that they had killed his dad's wife because she knew about the molestation but still supported him.

Pedersen said he expected to be charged with killing the “dead Negro” because “the bullet from my gun is in his head.”

Joey Pedersen has an extensive criminal history, having spent from age 16 to 31 behind bars, except for a one-year stretch. His convictions include assaulting a police officer and threatening a federal judge. He was released from prison in May.

Grigsby also spent time in prison beginning in 2006 for a variety of charges, including identity theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. After completing probation, she served two years for identity theft. Even in prison, she got into trouble, including for assault.

Both share an interest in white supremacist ideology. Pedersen prominently displays a white supremacy tattoo on his neck. Grigsby's white supremacist leanings were made clear to fellow inmates at Oregon's women's prison.

4th victim ID’d in alleged murder spree

Four homicide victims – including an African-American man shot in the head at close-range in Eureka, Calif. – are now being linked to a jailed couple with extensive criminal records and white supremacy beliefs. Read Bill Morlin's report for the Southern Poverty Law Center here.

Here's a report from the Associated Press:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man and his girlfriend have admitted to killing the man's father and stepmother in a 5-day crime spree that authorities said ultimately left four dead across the Pacific Northwest.

David Joseph Pedersen, 31, (pictured) told a California newspaper in a story published Monday that he killed his father and was responsible for the three other killings in Washington, Oregon and California. His 24-year-old girlfriend, Holly Grigsby, separately described to investigators in Washington state how she killed Pedersen's stepmother using two knives.

The crime spree began last month, as Pedersen's father drove the couple to catch a bus in Everett, Wash., according to Grigsby's statements to police. Pedersen shot his father from behind as Grigsby took control of the vehicle, she said. The couple then returned to the father's home, where Grigsby stabbed Pedersen's stepmother with the knives, she told authorities. Leslie Pedersen, called “Dee Dee” by friends and family, was found with a bloody pillow wrapped around her head.

The couple said Pedersen's father, David Jones “Red” Pedersen, was targeted because he allegedly molested his daughter and a niece when they were younger.

Grigsby told authorities the stepmother, Leslie Pedersen, was killed because she didn't do anything about the alleged molestation.

“I felt it was my responsibility to make sure it didn't happen again,” the younger Pedersen told The Appeal Democrat in a jailhouse interview. He said Grigsby was involved in the slayings only under duress and shouldn't be held responsible for the deaths.

Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said officers have not yet looked into the molestation allegations but planned to do so. He said evidence collected so far indicates much of Grigsby's story could be plausible.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Pederson at the Yuba County Jail were not immediately successful Monday.

The deaths of Pedersen's father and stepmother led the couple to the logging roads of Oregon, where authorities said they dumped the father's Jeep with his body still inside.

While in Oregon, police said they also fatally shot 19-year-old Cody Myers, who had been attending a jazz festival outside the coastal town of Newport. Police said Myers was shot in the head and chest. Pedersen and Grigsby were arrested last week in Myers' car outside Sacramento.

A fourth body, that of a 54-year-old man, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in California on Friday. Police in Eureka linked Reginald Alan Clark's death to the couple, but didn't release details. Clark is pictured at right.

Pedersen and Grigsby have pleaded not guilty to charges of weapons possession and vehicle theft, and their bail was set at $1 million. They are expected in court Tuesday for an extradition hearing. They have not been charged in the killings.

Their appointed attorney, Donald Wahlberg, said he did not know anything about the case beyond what had been reported.

In the days after Leslie Pedersen's body was found, suspicion quickly fell on her stepson and his girlfriend. David Joseph Pedersen has an extensive criminal history, having spent the ages of 16 to 31 behind bars, except for a one-year stretch. His convictions include assaulting a police officer and threatening a federal judge, and other disciplinary infractions included assault, extortion, disobedience, harassment and destruction of property.

Grigsby also spent time in prison beginning in 2006 for a variety of charges, including identity theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. After completing probation, she served two years for identity theft. Even in prison, she got into trouble for assault and possession of contraband.

Both share an interest in white supremacy ideology, with Pedersen prominently displaying a white supremacy tattoo on his neck. Grigsby's white supremacist leanings were made clear to fellow inmates at Oregon's women's prison.

Oct. 6: Racist in murder spree threatened to kill Idaho judge

Oct. 5: Couple in NW. manhunt arrested in Calif.

Oct. 5: Body found in manhunt may be that of teen

Racist in murder spree has Idaho ties

California Highway Patrol Officer Duane Nokes takes David Joseph Pedersen into custody following a traffic stop on Marysville Road and Gettys Court near Yuba City, Calif. on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Appeal Democrat, David Bitton)

A white supremacist suspected of murdering two people in Washington and Oregon was convicted of threatening to kill an Idaho-based federal judge in 2001.

David Joseph Pedersen, 31, was sentenced to two years in prison in December 2001 after pleading guilty to mailing threatening communications and threatening to assault and murder U.S District Judge Edward Lodge and mailing threatening communications.

The case was prosecuted in Ada County. Retired Spokesman-Review reporter Bill Morlin has more at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog.

According to the Associated Press, the paths of a teenager who called his mother daily and Pedersen and his girlfriend, who were fleeing a murder scene in Washington state, crossed in Western Oregon's Willamette Valley less than a week ago.

The teenager who had thoughts of joining the ministry was found dead, the victim of “homicidal violence.” The two people who commandeered his car — subjects of a manhunt in the death of a Washington state woman and disappearance of her husband — threw up their hands in surrender to police on Wednesday.

An Oregon sheriff called their weeklong road trip by down the West Coast “a vicious, vile reign of terror.” After days of searching on land and air, a California Highway Patrol trooper with a lingering doubt about the white sedan with Oregon plates arrested Pedersen and his girlfriend, Holly Grigsby (pictured right).

Someone stumbled on the teenager, 19-year-old Cody Myers, in the woods in western Oregon on Tuesday. Relatives and friends say he was studious, religious and caring.
  “Cody was devoted to his family. He would've done anything for anybody to help anybody,” said Myers' mother, Susan Myers. “He had passion for life, for God, for his beliefs. He didn't deserve this.”

Exactly what took place in the woods west of Corvallis, Ore., and outside Philomath near Mary's Peak is unclear. Police know that Grigsby and Pedersen were spotted by a camera at a convenience store on Sunday, where they used a stolen credit card.

The card belonged to Pedersen's stepmother, Leslie Pedersen. She was found dead on Sept. 28. His father, David Jones Pedersen, is still missing.

A martial-arts expert with a prominent white-supremacy tattoo on his neck, Pedersen spent the ages of 16 to 31 in one form of incarceration or another, save for a one-year stretch in the mid-2000s.

Even while in prison, Pedersen couldn't avoid trouble. Major disciplinary infractions included assault, extortion, disobedience, harassment and destruction of property.

Grigsby, whose white supremacist leanings were made clear to her fellow inmates at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, also found herself in trouble in prison, getting written up for assault and possession of contraband.

Sought in the slayings of Pedersen's stepmother, they went south, to Oregon. Pedersen's father's Jeep went missing with them, and police assume it has been abandoned somewhere in Oregon.

Grigsby was dating Pedersen, but is married to Dannel Larson of Portland, Ore. He told The Associated Press his wife is simply gullible, the victim of a person capable of manipulating her into doing things she never would otherwise

“That man,” Larson said, “took her on a road straight to hell.”

They somehow came into contact with Myers, who worked two summers for a relative's construction company, said the company's owner, Mike Klein. When the crews would go on the road, Myers (pictured) would call his mother at least once a day.

Myers' parents, brother and sister and other relatives were at a Wednesday night press conference in Salem where police confirmed the body that had been found was the missing teen's.

Myers' mother, Susan, cried at times. Her daughter, Brittany Klein, handed her tissues.

Details remain unclear. Pedersen and Grigsby have been named “persons of interest.” They were found with handguns and rifles, all of them loaded, but police have not said how Myers died.

Pedersen and Grigsby come from a world inhabited by convicts, violence and white supremacists.

Grigsby's father, Fred Grigsby of Portland, said his daughter had been involved with white supremacists, and also had battled drug addiction.

“She went to treatment. I thought she got her life together,” he told The Associated Press.

Grigsby spent time in prison for a variety of charges beginning in 2006, including identity theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. After completing probation, she was again sentenced in 2008 on identity theft charges and served two years.

Her boyfriend, Pederson, has a white supremacist tattoo on his neck and convictions dating back to 1997. He was first convicted of robbery at age 16 in Marion County, Ore. and has a spent a total of 13 years in prison for felony offenses that include assault and robbery and sending a letter threatening to kill Judge Lodge.

Pederson was released from prison this past May. His time free of bars and handcuffs lasted 134 days.

On Wednesday afternoon, California Highway Patrol Officer Terry Uhrich was on a routine patrol in rural Yuba County. He spotted a woman standing next to a parked vehicle, three of its doors open. A man was inside the car.

“I pulled up to the side of them, just thinking they were needing assistance or something like that. I asked the female if they were all right. She said they were fine, she was stretching,” Uhrich told The AP. “It kind of hit me that dispatch had put out a BOL about an hour and a half before — be on lookout for a stolen vehicle out of Oregon and it had a male and female out of it.”

He ran the license number and confirmed it was Cody Myers' vehicle, then began following the couple as they drove slowly down the road. After about two miles, they turned into a side road leading to a church, and Uhrich followed them.

Uhrich turned on his patrol car lights, got out and, using his door as a shield, drew his sidearm and ordered them to turn off the engine. They complied, keeping their hands where he could see them. They occasionally leaned over and kissed.

Other officers arrived within minutes and arrested the couple, finding a rifle and two handguns inside the stolen car. The handguns were within reach of the suspects.

They were taken to a Yuba City police department holding cell to await interviews by the Oregon State Police and Everett, Wash., police.

Uhrich said they acted tranquil, “like they knew it kind of was over.”

Uhrich drove Grigsby in the back of his patrol car, while Pederson was taken in a separate car.

Along the way, said Uhrich, Grigsby sang along to a song on the radio — “not a worry in the world.”

Aryan in hate crime faces 5 years to life

A Coeur d'Alene man and reputed racist faces five years to life in prison if convicted of a hate crime under Idaho's repeat offender law.

 Joel Townsend Diekhoff, 29, an associate of local Aryan Nations member Jerald O'Brien, remains in the Kootenai County Jail on $50,000 bond for malicious harassment.

Diekhoff was arrested Saturday after Demetrius K. Lee, 39, said a white man with several Aryan tattoos yelled slurs and threatened him for walking in front of his house near South 19th Street and East Mullan Avenue

Lee said the man, whom police identified as Diekhoff after interviewing witnesses, came out of the house with three other men to “beat him up.”

Lee returned to the area with a baseball bat and had a heated conversation with Diekhoff before calling police.

Diekhoff has previous convictions for felon in possession of a firearm in Washington state in 2005 and theft in Georgia in 2000, according to court documents filed this week in Kootenai County District Court. Idaho law calls for criminals to serve five years to life in prison for felony crimes if convicted of two previous felonies.

Aryan in hate crime jailed on $50k bond

A Coeur d'Alene man and reputed racist remains in jail on $50,000 after appearing in court on a hate-crime charge Monday.
Joel Townsend Diekhoff, 29, an associate of local Aryan Nations member Jerald O'Brien, was arrested Saturday after Demetrius K. Lee, 39, said a white man with several Aryan tattoos yelled slurs and threatened him for walking in front of his house near South 19th Street and East Mullan Avenue. Lee said he was on his morning walk to Sanders Beach and has lived in the area for six years.

Lee said the man, who police identified as Diekhoff after interviewing witnesses, came out of the house with three other men to “beat him up.”

Lee ran to his friend's house and got a baseball bat, police said, then returned to the area and had a heated conversation with Diekhoff. He then left and called the police.

Diekhoff was holding his baby daughter in his arms when he confronted Lee, police say.

Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood said Diekhoff was a suspect in a battery investigation last November that never led to charges after police heard reports that he beat a man who refused to chase after a black man with him and O'Brien.

The alleged victim, William Moore, said he was staying with O'Brien because of his Aryan ties when the men were outside O'Brien's house on Thanksgiving Day and yelled “White Power” at two men who were walking by. One of the men said he was black, and Diekhoff ran after him as O'Brien followed, according to a police report.

When they returned, they attacked Moore and struck him several times in the head, saying he was angry Moore hadn't backed them up. Moore tried to superglue his head wound but went to the hospital the next day.

O'Brien told police he'd kicked Moore out of his home because “he couldn't be a true Aryan if he would associate with members of the other churches,” according to the police report.

“He called members of other churches 'the enemy' and said there was only one true church.' He then almost immediately calmed down,” according to the report.

Racist knocked out by hate-crime target

A self-proclaimed skinhead was knocked unconscious by a black man after threatening to stab him last weekend in Bayview, Idaho, officials said Friday.

Daren Christopher Abbey, 28, was booked into jail on malicious harassment charge after being treated at a hospital for facial fractures, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

Abbey is accused of threatening to stab Marlon L. Baker, 46, inside J.D.'s Resort July 3 in Bayview after telling him he didn't belong in the bar because he was black, said Lt. Stu Miller.

Baker left the bar to avoid a fight, but Abbey followed to a marina about 300 yards away, called him racial slurs and again threatened to stab him.

“He said black people don't belong in Bayview,” Miller said.

Baker punched Abbey once in the face, knocking him to the ground unconscious.

Sheriff's officials already were in Bayview patrolling the Independence Day weekend festival that included a boat parade that night. Miller said they arrived about 8:50 p.m. to find Abbey unconscious.

Abbey apparently was unaware of the writing on the back of Baker's t-shirt: “Spokane Boxing Club champion.”

“If he had been able to read that maybe he wouldn't have done that,” Miller said.

Spokane Boxing Club President Rick Welliver said Baker, who could not be reached for comment, is not affiliated with his organization and is not a boxer.

Miller said Baker acted in self defense.

“He felt threatened - there was an actual threat that was made that he was going to get stabbed,” Miller said. “(Abbey) actually followed him for quite some distance”

Baker told deputies he punched Abbey instinctively as the skinhead approached, Miller said.

Abbey has several neo-Nazi tattoos and told Coeur d'Alene police in 2004 that he was an “independent skinhead” who didn't like minorities, Miller said.

The 2004 contact with police didn't lead to an arrest or citation, Miller said. Miller didn't have details on the reason for the contact but said Abbey's twin brother was there and said he wasn't racist but was in the area helping his brother look for work.

Abbey, of Sacramento, Calif., said he lives as a transient in the Coeur d'Alene area after moving from Montana, Miller said. He remains in jail on $75,000 for felony charges of malicious harassment (Idaho's hate crime law) and battery.

Racial remarks overturn murder case

By GENE JOHNSON,Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington state Supreme Court overturned a man's murder conviction Thursday because of what one justice described as “repugnant” racial comments made by the prosecutor during the trial.

Kevin L. Monday Jr., who is black, was convicted in a 2006 shooting in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood after a street musician's video camera captured him firing the shots that killed Francisco Green.

During the trial, longtime deputy King County prosecutor James Konat, who is white, repeatedly questioned recalcitrant witnesses by making references to the “po-leese” and to a supposed “code” of silence that kept witnesses from cooperating with officers. Konat told the jury, “The code is, black folk don't testify against black folk.”

The comments had the ultimate effect of casting doubt on the credibility of the witnesses based on their race, Justice Tom Chambers wrote for the majority.

“The notion that the state's representative in a criminal trial, the prosecutor, should seek to achieve a conviction by resorting to racist arguments is so fundamentally opposed to our founding principles, values, and fabric of our justice system that it should not need to be explained,” the opinion said.

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen similarly criticized the remarks in her concurrence: “The appeals to racism here by an officer of the court are so repugnant to the fairness, integrity, and justness of the criminal justice system that reversal is required.”

Monday will be tried again — with a different prosecutor handling the case.

“It's never OK to invite jurors to convict someone based on racial biases, and we're glad the court recognized that,” said Monday's attorney, Nancy Collins.

Konat's boss, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said he agrees the comments were inappropriate and offensive, and his office never argued otherwise. Instead, the issue before the court was whether a new trial was necessary, given the video of the shooting and Monday's admission that he fired the shots.

“The deputy prosecutor deeply regrets his remarks,” Satterberg said in a written statement. “He has been told, in no uncertain terms, that those arguments are unacceptable.”

The King County prosecutor's office instituted new training for prosecutors as a result of the case, spokesman Dan Donohoe said. Konat was not formally disciplined.

Konat is currently prosecuting Isaiah Kalebu, who is charged with murder in a rape and stabbing attack on a lesbian couple in South Seattle two years ago. He was focusing on that trial Thursday and unavailable for comment, Donohoe said.

The five justices who signed the majority opinion found that Monday must receive a new trial because the prosecutor's error was not “harmless” — meaning it could have affected the jury's decision. They noted that although the video captured the shooting, it could not establish that Monday acted with premeditation or whether he might have had other legal defenses for his actions.

Three justices, including Madsen, signed a concurring opinion which held that Monday deserved a new trial even if the comments were harmless.

Justice James Johnson voted against granting him a new trial.

“Even if the prosecutor's comments arguably tainted the jury's impressions of some witnesses, this could not affect the jury's perception of the videotape and other evidence,” Johnson wrote in his dissent.

FBI: Racist felon had ammo, 5 firearms

A Whitman County man arrested on federal gun charges last month had several guns and a large collection of ammunition when investigators searched his properties, a new indictment alleges.

Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop, 29, faces two counts of felon in possession of a firearm and a forfeiture charge that demands he give up four rifles, a 12-gauge shotgun, and more than 150 rounds of shotgun shells and other ammunition.

A grand jury indicted him on the new charges this week in U.S. District Court.

Hop was convicted in California of third-degree rape of a child in 2005, a felony that prohibits him from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Hop was arrested during an FBI investigation April 20 for allegedly possessing an Izhmash 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun on March 25.

His brother, Michael Hop, said he was set up by an FBI informant who supplied the shotgun after suggesting they go shooting.

Hop has bragged online about being involved with racist taco-truck protests in Kootenai County. He remains in custody without bail at the Spokane County Jail.
  

Brother: FBI set up taco truck protester

The man who boasted online about taking part in racist protests of taco-trucks in Coeur d’Alene and now faces an illegal weapons charge was the victim of government entrapment, his brother says.

Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop, 29, was set up earlier this month by an FBI informant who suggested the two of them go shooting and even supplied the shotgun that federal authorities now accuse him of illegally possessing, said Michael Hop, the suspect’s younger brother.

J.D. Hop has a previous felony conviction, which prohibits him from possessing firearms.

“The FBI took him out shooting and then arrested him,” Michael Hop said. “If an informant hands you a gun and asks you to shoot it, that’s entrapment in my book.”

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage: April 20: Felon targeted by FBI linked to taco truck protests

Taco protester arraigned on gun charge

A Whitman County man who bragged online about being involved with racist taco-truck protests in Kootenai County pleaded not guilty to a federal gun charge today.

 A bail hearing for Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop, 29, is set for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.

Hop, who is at the Spokane County Jail, was arrested Wednesday morning. He told Imbrogno he had “just a little stress, that's all,” when she asked if he suffered from mental conditions that might prohibit his understanding of the court proceedings.

Hop, who was convicted in California of third-degree rape of a child in 2005, is not a member of the Aryan Nations but is involved in racist circles.

Under the name WhitePhoenix, a man who identified himself as Hop wrote on the racist website Stormfront about his work protesting taco stands in the Coeur d’Alene area.

Read the rest of my story here.

DOJ launches probe of Seattle police

SEATTLE (AP) — The Justice Department today launched a formal civil rights investigation of the Seattle Police Department following the fatal shooting of a homeless woodcarver and other incidents of force used against minority suspects.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and the assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, Thomas E. Perez, held a conference call Thursday morning to discuss the investigation. Durkan previously said her office was reviewing the Seattle Police Department's actions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and 34 other community groups called for the inquiry after a Seattle officer shot and killed Native American woodcarver John T. Williams after he crossed a street downtown. The officer who shot Williams, Ian Birk, resigned from the force but was not charged criminally.

Other incidents captured on surveillance or police-cruiser video include officers using racial slurs and stomping on a prone Latino man; an officer kicking a non-resisting black youth in a convenience store; and officers tackling and kicking a black man who showed up in a police evidence room to pick up belongings after he was mistakenly released from jail.

ACLU of Washington spokesman Doug Honig welcomed the announcement.

“We think the DOJ has a lot of experience and expertise in dealing with situations like this around the country,” he said. “Our hope is that they can make recommendations that will help the city of Seattle curtail the use of excessive force in the future.”

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