Prosecutors: Neo-Nazis discuss assassination and escape from prison | Region

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Federal prosecutors in Maryland recommend 25-year prison sentences for two members of the neo-Nazi group, calling them national terrorists who have prepared for a civil war, discussed how to break a racist mass killer Dylann roof on death row and spoke of the assassination of a Virginia lawmaker.

Former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews and U.S. Army veteran Brian Mark Lemley Jr. are expected to be sentenced on October 28 after plead guilty to firearms charges in June. They have been jailed since their arrest in January 2020 in a Delaware apartment where the FBI had installed a CCTV camera and microphone.

Surveillance equipment captured them talking about planning an attack at a gun rights rally at the Virginia Capitol in Richmond, the destruction of railroad tracks and power lines, and of how Mathews “briefly considered” trying to assassinate a Virginia lawmaker, prosecutors wrote in a court file Thursday.

After Mathews found the home address of the president of the Virginia House of Delegates on the internet, he and Lemley “pondered” an attack on the president’s route to work, as they concluded he There was probably not a good location for snipers near the lawmaker’s home. , prosecutors said.

“In Mathews’ view, the president’s murder would ‘likely speed up their gun control program’, which Mathews in turn hoped would provoke a backlash,” prosecutors wrote.

But they ultimately put the idea aside, waiting to see if lawmakers in Virginia pass gun control law, prosecutors said. Eileen Filler-Corn, who is Jewish, was sworn in as a speaker on January 8, 2020, but prosecutors do not name her in their court records.

“In the hope of a civil war that would decimate racial and ethnic minorities and subjugate women, the defendants joined forces with each other and with others, studied violence, tested their weapon skills, stored ammunition and supplies and planned to kill on a large scale in pursuit of them. of their goals, ”prosecutors wrote.

Filler-Corn said in a statement he was told on Thursday that the two men had discussed his target.

“It is extremely disturbing and it should disturb all Americans,” she said. “This model of using violence to intimidate the leaders and symbols of our democracy undermines the core values ​​of our democracy itself.”

Defense attorney Ned Smock said Lemley, who served in Iraq during his time in the military, “strayed during a difficult time in his life” and took responsibility for non-violent crimes that he committed. Smock said prosecutors focused on things Lemley and Mathews discussed in private instead of the crimes they were charged with.

“But these are just words. Mr Lemley never committed violence, he had no intention of taking any violent action and he took no action to commit any of the acts mentioned in these tapes, ”Smock said on Friday. in a statement to The Associated Press.

Smock said he is seeking a two-year and nine-month jail sentence for Lemley. That would be on the lower end of the sentencing guidelines calculated by the court’s probation service. The upper end of the calculation for Lemley is three years and five months, according to Smock.

Mathews and Lemley Jr. were charged with a third base member. The group has been a major proponent of “accelerationism,” a fringe philosophy that advocates the use of mass violence to accelerate the collapse of society.

The third co-accused, William Garfield Bilbrough IV, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in December to helping Mathews illegally enter the United States from Canada in 2019.

The FBI also overheard Lemley and Mathews talk about trying to free Roof, who was sentenced to death for killing nine members of a black church congregation in South Carolina in 2015. They discussed the number of people. it would take to break into the maximum security prison. in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Roof is being held, how many guards are believed to be present and how a shooting would unfold, prosecutors said.

“Can you imagine Dylann Roof escaped from prison?” Mathews said, according to prosecutors. “The base would be known as the guys who blew up Dylann Roof.”

Defense lawyers filed their sentencing notes under seal on Thursday. Mathews lawyer Joseph Balter said the note to his case contained confidential personal information, including health records. Balter did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Friday.

Mathews and Lemley pleaded guilty to charges, including carrying a gun illegally and obstructing justice, for destroying cell phones when FBI agents raided their apartment.

Mathews pleaded guilty to four counts for a combined total of 50 years in prison. Lemley pleaded guilty to seven counts carrying a maximum of 70 years.

None of the defendants have faced terrorism-related charges, but prosecutors are calling for an alleged improvement in terrorism upon sentencing that could result in a significant increase in jail time if U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang agrees to apply it.

The case against the three indicted men in Maryland was part of a larger investigation by The Base. In January 2020, authorities in Georgia and Wisconsin arrested four other men linked to the group.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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