Seale, Alabama – Eastern Alabama police announce that a hate crime bomb plot targeting gay and black classmates of a 17-year-old white supremacist has been foiled in Russell County.
Authorities arrested Derek Shrout, a self-proclaimed white power advocate, last Friday, responding swiftly to threats to bomb Russell County High School written in Shrout’s own personal journal. The journal, carelessly left behind in a classroom by Shrout, fell into the hands of a teacher, who rushed the document into the hands of police investigators. According to WTVM-TV, Shrout threatened in his journal to harm six students and one teacher, citing hatred of blacks and gays as his motive. Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told reporters, “The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks, and attacks of violence and danger on the school.” Five of the students Shrout specifically named were black. Shrout believed the sixth student he named was gay, also a class of persons the 17-year-old professed to hate.
Sheriff Taylor said that the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut were an inciting factor in Shrout’s intention to bomb the high school. The first entry showing the student’s intent to attack his school is on December 17, only three days after the horrific Sandy Hook massacre. Fox News reports that law enforcement officers discovered over 25 smokeless tobacco tins and two larger cans with holes drilled in them in Shrout’s rooms on Friday. The tins were filled with pellets, partially outfitted as homemade bombs and grenades. One of the tins was labeled “Fat Man,” and another “Little Boy,” apparently in emulation of the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. The improvised bombs were only “a step or two away from being ready to explode,” the Sheriff observed, going on to say that the quick thinking of school officials averted a horrible outcome. “The system worked and thank God, it did,” he said. “We avoided a very bad situation.”
In his own defense, Shrout claims that the entries in his journal were fictions, and that he never intended to harm classmates or the teacher. He was held in custody on $75,000 bond on a felony charge of assault until a court appearance this Monday, when he made bail. The presiding judge released Shrout under the following conditions: he must remain at home; wear a GPS locator bracelet on his ankle; refrain from initiating contact with anyone connected to the school; and be monitored by a parent while on the Internet. A court date for the teen has been set for February 12.
Shrout, who moved to Alabama from Kansas with his military family, had become well-known in Russell County High for his anti-gay and racist views. Classmates noted that he and a circle of other white supremacist friends often espoused white power propaganda, and gave each other the Nazi salute. Senior Class President David Kelly is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “In the hallway, at breakfast, at the lunch tables, after school where we have our bus parking lot, he’d have his big old group of friends and they’d go around doing the whole white power crazy stuff.”
Authorities say that the teen was involved in neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, and had learned bomb making from the internet. Now his classmates are expressing anger and frustration at Shrout’s intended attack on their school. David White, who used to hang out with Shrout after JROTC meetings, exclaimed to reporters, “Why would you want to go to a school and blow it up? You know you’re going to hit somebody else; you’re not just going to, in particular, hit one person. You’re going to injure more than one.”
Ventura County, California – The teen killer of a gay classmate has pleaded guilty second-degree murder. Brandon McInerney, 17, 14-years-old at the time he pulled the trigger, shot gay 15-year-old Larry King in the back of the head execution-style at E.O Green Middle School in Oxnard, California in February 2008 before the eyes of his first-period classmates. The facts of the case are undisputed. Rising behind his victim, McInerney pumped two rounds into the back of Larry King’s skull, fulfilling a threat he made to a girlfriend at school the day before. McInerney will receive a 21-year sentence for a crime that many say bears all the hallmarks of a pre-meditated, first-degree hate crime murder.
In September of this year, a mistrial was declared after two months of testimony, due to the inability of the jury to come to a decision about the guilt of young McInerney. Prosecutors had argued for first-degree murder, based on the established pre-meditation and the heinous nature of the crime. Under California law, a 14-year-old may be tried as an adult, and McInerney, who confessed to the murder seemed to fit the statute’s requirements. Prosecutors claimed that because of McInerney’s antipathy toward King’s sexual orientation and gender expression, and because of white supremacist loyalties the killer clearly embraced, the murder was a clear-cut case of anti-LGBT hate crime. Defense turned the tables on the prosecution, putting the dead victim on trial instead of their client. They resurrected the infamous “gay panic/trans panic” defense, drumming their contention into the jurors’ minds that King was the prime aggressor, pressing his flamboyant sexuality toward McInerney until he “snapped.” Enough of the jury bought the ploy that the jury hung. Had the first-degree charge been upheld, the defendant would have received 53 years for his crime.
The Advocate reports that formal sentencing will take place for McInerney on December 19. Twenty-one years in prison is a long time for McInerney to consider that every day he lives is another he stole from a gay classmate because of his discomfort with a person who was different. For the LGBTQ community, the specter of the “gay panic defense,” like a hungry ghost, lingers on, given new energy by this plea deal.
Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California – Larry King’s alleged killer was influenced by white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideals to shoot his gay classmate to death, according to the testimony of an expert witness. Beginning on Wednesday, July 20, the Prosecutor Maeve Fox introduced evidence that Brandon McInerney held violent, ingrained white supremacist biases against gay people. Drawings of swastikas and other white supremacist symbols and illustrations that McInerney possessed in his home and in his prison cell were presented to the court. On Friday, Simi Valley Police Detective Dan Swanson, an expert on white supremacy, testified to the court that McInerney’s embrace of white supremacist tenets was the primary reason he hated 15-year-old Larry King enough to kill him. White supremacists hold deep animosity for gays and lesbians, often resorting to physical violence against them, Swanson said. He further told the court that McInerney was a violent member of a supremacist street gang, according to the Washington Post. McInerney’s defense team sought to discredit the prosecution’s bias case by presenting schoolmate and prison officer witnesses who testified that McInerney was not a white supremacist. The Ventura County Star reported that McInerney’s direct supervisor at juvenile hall, Chris Niblett, testified that McInerney was a “good kid” who sometimes got in fights with others, but on the whole showed no particular tendency for violence, and no evidence of gang membership. Niblett went on to say that McInerney was allowed to use a PlayStation as an award for good behavior. Three juvenile hall videos of fights involving McInerney with other inmates were shown to the jury on Friday. The prosecution said that they demonstrated, in contradiction to defense image of their client, that McInerney was prone to violence.
McInerney is charged with the execution-style murder of Lawrence Fobes “Larry” King in his middle school classroom in February 2008. He is being charged and tried as an adult, though at the time of the fatal shooting, McInerney was 14 years old. Prosecuting Attorney Fox told the media that she would wrap up her case against McInerney perhaps as early as Wednesday of nest week.
New Port Richey, Florida – After days of deliberation, a Pasco County jury has found John Allen Ditullo, 24, guilty of the March 2006 murder of teenager Kristofer King, whom he thought to be gay. Ditullo, a Neo-Nazi who called himself “Syn,” invaded the home of Patricia Wells whom he slashed with a knife as she slept on a futon. King, a friend of Wells’s openly gay son, Brandon Wininger, ran out of the room where he had been browsing on the internet while Brandon was away. Ditullo attacked 17-year-old King with the knife, stabbing him repeatedly. King died of his wounds in a nearby hospital. Wells recovered. The outrage of the murder was made greater since King died as a case of mistaken identity. Ditullo, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, had an intense hatred of gays, according to testimony given by members of the Neo-Nazi cell group to which he belonged. Rumor had it that Tricia Wells had a relationship going on with a black male, and Ditullo decided to punish the gay youth and his mother for the double transgression of a gay son and an African American boyfriend. The King family acknowledged that Kris and Brandon Wininger were good friends from school, and that Kris King would occasionally stay the night at the Wells’s home with his parents’ permission. Ditullo, 20 at the time of the attack, assumed that the youth trying to flee the home he had invaded was the gay youth he intended to kill, and stabbed Kris King to death. Upon returning to the Neo-Nazi compound where he lived, Ditullo bragged to his fellow skinheads that he had murdered both Wells and her boy. According to testimony by a fellow skinhead and prison-mate, Corey Patnote, Ditullo claimed he was proud of what he had done. Patnote said Ditullio told him, “I killed ’em both, stabbed them in the head.” Prosecutors reminded jurors that Guy King, the murder victim’s father, received a Christmas card from Ditulio, decorated with a tombstone drawn on the front that read, “Rest In Peace. Here Lies Dead Faggot.” The message inside: “I hope your Christmas is full of memories of your dead gay son. Merry f—— Christmas.” After a nearly hung jury re-examined the DNA evidence from the attacks on Wells and King, they brought back a unanimous verdict of guilty against Ditullo on Thursday, December 16. He received 15 years for the attempt on the life of Tricia Wells, which he will serve concurrently with the life sentence for King’s murder. Bay News 9 reports that Charlene Bricken, King’s mother, expressed no sympathy for Ditullo after the trial. “I hope somebody gets him and he dies as brutal a death as my son did,” she said. Bricken, who says the past four years have been terribly difficult for her and the family, wants most of all for her son to be remembered as the generous, open, loving person he was in life.
Harrison, AR – Ten-year-old Andrew Pendergraft has a picture-perfect American family, and preaches hatred against LGBT people and racial minorities. He hates “homosexual heroes” and “race mixing.” In the most recent edition of “Hatewatch,” the Southern Poverty Law Center highlights the story of this young, blond boy and his sisters Charity, 19, and Shelby, 17, who are being reared by their parents in the culture of hatred for all things non-white and homosexual. The Sun carries an extensive article with revealing photos of the boy, who recently ranted against the Disney animated film, “The Princess and the Frog.” While Andrew opines that the African American Princess is good for all the “black kids,” the fact that the Prince is white is terrible, because that is “race mixing”: “If all other people mix up there won’t be any more white kids,” the Sun quotes him as saying, “So don’t race-mix.” Andrew goes on to complain that the film is anti-Christian since the “good guy” is a Voodoo priest, and Voodoo is a black race blasphemy, while Christianity is the religion of white people. “Voodoo doctors worship the Devil so it’s a pretty bad movie for kids, especially white kids,” Andrew concludes. “Be white and proud. Bye.” The story of the Pendergrafts who have swallowed Klu Klux Klan doctrine hook, line, and sinker, is a warning to American society about the new shape of deadly hatred in this country: the intersection of oppressions and hatreds. Race hatred and anti-semitism do not exist in a vacuum from homophobia and heterosexism. In the Sun interview, Andrew’s mother Rachel proudly states that she home schooled her children because if they were to attend a public school, her kids would be taught about “heroes of the homosexual agenda, and that it is OK to race-mix.” Mrs. Pendergraft goes on to say, “They would be taught that there is a great socialist agenda in America and they can get on that bandwagon.” Undergirding the new face of American hatred is an old evil: support for hate ideology by a particularly intolerant version of the Christian religion. Little Andrew loves to go to the White Christian Revival Center in Harrison where he preaches, and after he finishes shooting his latest segment on the family internet TV project, “White People TV,” he and about 30 other Klan Kids go out bowling. “It is so much fun!” Andrew enthuses. The flaming cross is central to the whole hate project, according to Andrew’s sister, Charity, and has been misunderstood by outsiders and race-mixers: “We don’t call it cross-burning. It is meant to highlight that Jesus died for us on the cross,” she told the Sun. The sincerity of this belief, that the Christian God only approves of white, straight people, and their paranoia about the supposed “extinction of the White race,” make for a dangerous future when inculcated in children so young. According to The Sun, current membership of the KKK in the United States stands at around 8,000, and is growing strongly after the election of America’s first African American “race-mixing” President, Barack Obama.