Judge gives Kurt ‘significant’ sentence
A man with ties to white supremacists who bragged about wanting to kill President Barack Obama received a 13-year sentence Thursday for a weapons charge, the latest conviction in what his defense attorney called “a running battle with the government.”
Wayde L. Kurt, 54, also told associates he was saving money for a “final solution,” a bombing that would dwarf the deadly 1995 attack on Oklahoma City, according to court testimony.
“I don’t know what your final solution was about,” U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen told Kurt, but he said the FBI acted appropriately to prevent a scenario that would have left agents “to clean up the mess of the collateral damage that may have followed.”
But Kurt, wearing a Spokane County Jail jumpsuit and a flowing red-and-white beard, testified Wednesday that he had no plans to blow up a federal building or kill Obama, as federal agents alleged.
“I think Barack Hussein Obama is the best thing since Skippy peanut butter. He’s done more damage than 1,000 terrorists,” Kurt said. “I just sit back and watch it.”
He’s about to have a lot more time to watch.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks asked Nielsen to sentence Kurt to the maximum 10 years for the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and another year for a charge of unlawful production of an identification card. But Nielsen instead sentenced Kurt to 13 years.
“You have a lifetime pattern of antisocial, criminal behavior,” Nielsen told Kurt. “You believe the rules of society don’t apply to you. If the sentence is not significant, you will be out and likely committing more crimes.”
Hicks said the sentence was appropriate given Kurt’s criminal past, which started with a murder charge in 1987. The FBI forensically matched an automatic machine gun used to kill a 6-year-old Snohomish County boy to Kurt, but a jury in 1989 acquitted him of that charge.
Kurt has previous convictions for making counterfeit money.
U.S. Secret Service Agent John Neirinckx testified Wednesday that when Kurt in 2004 found a GPS tracker the agent placed on his car, Kurt claimed “if they want war, I’ll give them a war” and that he would “make a fireball out of Spokane.”
Defense attorney Richard Wall said his client clearly associated with white supremacists but was not one himself. “But even if he did believe in it, there is no evidence that he ever acted on it,” Wall said. “In terms of his danger to the community, I would suggest there isn’t any.”
Wall said the most recent case started after his client went to a meeting of the white separatist Vanguard Kindred.
A video of that January 2009 gathering played by prosecutors showed known racist Keegan C. Van Tuyl, who founded a group called the Valhalla-Bound Skinheads, disparaging blacks, Hispanics and Asians in a room decorated with Nazi flags. Kurt was shown sitting with a beer and nodding his head in agreement.
Wall said Kurt believed the Vanguard Kindred was a religious group. “That resulted in him being here today. Ever since he was accused of a murder he claims he had nothing to do with, he has been in a running battle with the government.”
On the witness stand, Kurt claimed that he stopped making counterfeit money in the mid-1990s but continued making false identifications. Investigators found 24 of them in his possession with his photograph but different names and identification numbers.
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