Neo-Nazi gets life for killing woman in interracial couple

By JACQUES BILLEAUD – Associated Press – Thursday, March 7, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) – A jury sentenced a neo-Nazi to life in prison Thursday for his murder conviction in the 2009 killing of a white woman during a dispute with her black boyfriend at a Phoenix park.

The jury denied the prosecution’s push for a death sentence for the white supremacist. Prosecutors say 37-year-old attacked and her boyfriend, , after yelling racial slurs at and harassing him about dating a white woman.

They said left to get a shotgun, returned to the area and fired from a car as the couple stood near a pay phone. Investigators say intended to shoot but instead struck .

, whose dress shirt and jacket covered up his Nazi and white-power tattoos, stood stoically with his hands in his pockets as the sentence was read in court. He was previously convicted of murder, attempted murder, drive-by shooting and other charges stemming from the October 2009 attack.

In seeking the death penalty, prosecutors have said the killing was meant to further the interests of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a reputation for violence. Lawyers for have said his client wasn’t a member of the Vinlanders.

The attack occurred after left a friend’s home angry and drunk and made his way into the neighborhood where he noticed and , according to a police report.

Prosecutors say a shirtless directed a racial slur at and yelled, “What are you doing with a white girl?”

He also told he was going to get “something for him,” prosecutors have said.

They said left to get a shotgun from his home, falsely told people there that he saw a black man hitting a white woman and returned to the area in a sedan driven by another man.

and were near a pay phone when the sedan pulled up. fired two shells, hitting in the stomach from about 10 feet (3 meters) away, prosecutors have said.

’s attorneys have noted was unable to identify in a photo lineup after the shooting.

While working with a police artist after the shooting, described a unique tattoo across the attacker’s stomach, a judge wrote earlier in the case. has a large tattoo across his belly.

Defense lawyers have noted that nearly two years after the attack, was jailed in an unrelated case and played chess with behind bars without recognizing him. has also acknowledged smoking marijuana earlier on the morning of the shooting.

In an unrelated crime months after ’s shooting death, police say stabbed two men who tried to stop him from attacking his girlfriend. He is serving a 22-year sentence for assault and weapons misconduct convictions.

Aaron Levi Schmidt, who authorities say was driving the car used in the attack on and , has pleaded guilty to murder in ’s death.

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