Monday, August 13, 2007

Former National Alliance Chairman Shaun Walker Sentenced To 87 Months In Prison For Basically Two Bar Fights

Special Note: Post updated to include a few more media links.

KSL Channel 5 in Salt Lake City has just reported that two of the three men convicted of conspiring to interfere with civil rights and interfering with a Federally-protected activity in Salt Lake City were sentenced today. Full story HERE. Additional stories subsequently posted by the Deseret Morning News and the Salt Lake Tribune.

One of the men, former National Alliance Chairman Shaun Walker, was sentenced by the judge to 87 months in prison (which translates to 7 years and 3 months). Judge Dee Benson called the incidents "ugly" and said he believed Walker "was in charge". Walker declined an opportunity to make a statement to the judge prior to sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said, "This sentence, 87 months for Mr. Walker, is going to be plenty of time for him to think about his involvement in crimes against individuals based on the color of their skin or their religious beliefs."

In contrast, Eric Egbert did make a statement to the judge. While expressed no remorse over his role in the attacks, he said he's changed. In addition, Judge Benson did not look upon Egbert as a major player in the attacks, but more as a participant who merely went along with it. As a result, Judge Benson "only" sentenced him to three and a half years in prison.

The third man, Travis Massey, was not sentenced today. He requested and was granted permission to replace the attorney who has been representing him with a new one. No date has been set for his sentencing. This was probably responsible for the delay in sentencing, which was originally set to take place on July 31st.

The case revolved around two separate incidents in 2002 and 2003 in which a Hispanic bartender and a Native American bar patron were beaten and kicked outside the bars O-Shucks and Port O-Call by a group of people, including the three defendants, who were shouting racial epithets.

On April 20th, 2007, a jury convicted Shaun Walker, Travis Massey and Eric Egbert of federal hate crimes after a four-day trial and only five hours of deliberations, granting excessive weight to the testimony of an informer, Keith Cotter, who sold Walker, Massey, and Egbert to the Feds in exchange for leniency in a separate case.

Click HERE to review all previous posts about the indictment phase of the case.

Click HERE to review all previous posts about the trial itself.

Commentary: I didn't think that either of them would get the full 20 years possible (10 years per count). I speculated that Walker might get five years and the other two three years each. I also speculated on the possibility that Eric Egbert might turn out to be the one to make a statement "distancing" himself from the Cause (although he didn't turn into another Floyd Cochran).

It's still hideous. Eighty-seven months imprisonment for a couple of bar fights where there was NO permanent injury and there were no assault charges filed by the state? This is medieval. And what's worse is that a mostly white jury in a mostly white state rendered the verdict.

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