Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tragedy In West Hurley, New York: Longtime White Nationalist Activist "Yankee Jim" James Leshkevich And Wife Found Shot To Death In Their Home

Hat tip to the Aryan Awakening blog for the image

Updated post on autopsy results HERE.

This was something I hoped never to write. Newsday has now confirmed that the two people reported by the Kingston Daily Freeman to have been found dead in the West Hurley home of "Yankee Jim" James Leshkevich on February 19th, 2008 are indeed Leshkevich and his wife Deborah. Leshkevich was a long time white nationalist activist who initially served with the National Alliance, migrated to the now-defunct National Vanguard organization, then became an independent activist.

State Police Capt. Wayne Olson says authorities went to the Leshkevich's West Hurley home after one of Deborah's co-workers reported her missing. Upon arrival at 11 A.M., police found Mrs. Leshkevich, 55, dead in a bedroom and the body of her husband James, 52, in an attached garage. The couple are survived by two children in their 20s as well as another child from Deborah's previous relationship. Police believe it may be a murder-suicide and expect to begin an autopsy straightaway. Additional media story published by WNBC Channel 4 New York.

Since this post was originally published, two more articles have become available. The Kingston Daily Freeman has published an article entitled "Racism Was A Way Of Life For Yankee James", which discusses community reaction in greater detail and is somewhat of a hit piece. The Daily Freeman also published "Blogger's Rant Reveals Rage At Wife's Infidelity", an edited version of Yankee Jim's last blog post

Special Note: Those who are inclined to post a message of condolence on The Hudson Valley Freeman need to know that the blog uses Comments Moderation, and since there is no one to moderate the comments any more, your comment will not show up. Those who would like to post some public condolences can do so at this Topix forum that I've started (registration not required).

Other pro-white media now picking up on this story; discussion started on the Vanguard News Network Forum and on Stormfront.

The Kingston Daily Freeman reported that Leshkevich posted a rambling message on his own blog, The Hudson Valley Freeman, on Monday February 18th announcing his wife was cheating on him and saying the posting would be his last "for a while." Here is a short excerpt from his last post:

Last summer, (June, 2007) my wife (Deborah S. Leshkevich) was having a phone conversation with one of her girlfriends (Janet Briggs) about her "boyfriend." She thought I was outside, but I had come in the back door and overheard part of the conversation. I've suspected that my wife has been cheating on me for quite a while. Turns out I was very right.

On the Friday night/Saturday morning of Jan 18/19...my wife got home around 4:15-4:30 AM. I had given up on her for the night, thought she was staying with one of her "girlfriends," locked the door and turned out the porch light and went to bed. Lately she's been staying out very late on Friday nights, and a few times didn't come home until Saturday morning/afternoon. (claims she stays with "Lizzie" / Liz Sopata) "Lizzie's" husband John recently dumped her fat ass for another woman...and they are either divorced, or in the process of getting a divorce. I do believe she stayed with "Lizzie" at least once or twice.

It was very unusual that she didn't come upstairs and get in bed that night/morning, but slept on the futon in the family room instead.

At approximately 8:30 AM that Saturday morning (Jan 19) there was a phone conversation (her cell phone) which lasted close to an hour. Turns out the "nice man" that she'd just gotten out of bed with not even 5 hours earlier called her to "make sure I made it home OK." Their conversation got quite "steamy." As a matter of fact, it got ridiculous.

I will not name the "nice guy" here (maybe later) as he was led to believe (by my wife) that we are legally separated, but still living together under the same roof for economic reasons, and "each doing our own things"...so I can't really blame the "nice man" for any of this...

The remainder of the post portrays a picture of a 54-year-old woman who had lost weight, gained self-confidence and personal esteem, and suddenly got that "seven-year itch" and decided to "find out what else was out there for her". Jim also mentions that in one instance, while he was busy doing an episode of the Vanguard News Network's "Free Talk Live", his wife was carrying on at the same time.

Jim honestly owns up to the fact that he has been no angel himself, disclosing that back in his younger days, he was a drinker who carried on himself behind Deborah's back. But he had long since left that life behind, particularly after he became active in the white nationalist movement.

Yankee Jim gave very little hint of any personal difficulties, merely stating his intent to post a little less often because of some personal issues. But there was no sign it was anything this serious. Indeed, in this recent post, he was celebrating the fact that The Hudson Valley Freeman blog had just shattered the 100,000 hits milestone. Impressive for a blog which began on March 7th, 2006 (first post HERE).

Yankee Jim was one of the primary players on Stormfront at one time, until a disagreement between himself and a Stormfront moderator led to his permanent departure from that venue. He was also one of the cornerstones of the Vanguard News Network Forum, involved in rallies and fund-raising for various pro-white causes. Selflessness and community involvement became part and parcel of Yankee Jim's later life. Some noteworthy examples:

- In April 2005, Yankee Jim organized 35 donors via Stormfront and the National Alliance to participate in a national walkathon for breast cancer operated by the American Cancer Society. He then arranged to have himself photographed handing over the envelope full of $857 in donations to the American Cancer Society. His objective was to combat and eradicate the negative biases and stereotypes about white nationalism. At the time, Leshkevich said, "It kind of throws a wrench into that whole hater, Nazi, racist, anti-Semite thing. Who in their right mind post-9/11 would want to be affiliated with a dangerous hate terrorist? I wanted people to see that, look, this is one of the things we can do. Doing something good ... not killing people or hanging Negroes".

- In October 2005, Yankee Jim was one of the primary organizers of a rally against black crime" held in Kingston, New York in November 2005 to protest the unprovoked assault on Kingston High School white student Robbie Hedrick by a black classmate who outweighed him nearly two-to-one. Many within Kingston's local white community believed the black student was getting kid gloves treatment simply because he was black, out of fear that the local black community might "chimp out" if things didn't go their way. His efforts attracted the attention of the premier mouthpiece of the white nationalist movement, radio host Hal Turner, who showed up and delivered a rousing speech.

- In May 2007, Yankee Jim participated in the first Knoxville "Rally Against Black Crime", designed to focus attention on the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, and the initial reluctance of the media to cover it effectively.

- In 2007, as white nationalist activist Chester Doles approached his release date from prison, Yankee Jim organized and led a Chester Doles Truck Fund campaign on the Vanguard News Network Forum, which netted $4,617.82 in contributions so Doles would have a grubstake to jump-start his life economically after his release.

Personal Impressions: While I never had the opportunity to meet Yankee Jim in person, I was always most impressed by his non-denominational activism and his desire to respect all productive white nationalists. He recognized and lauded all constructive activism, whether it was accomplished by an ordinary white nationalist, a national socialist, or even the younger skinhead crews. He rarely if ever took part in the flame wars which characterize life on the Vanguard News Network. Truly a class act from top to toe.

It may be instinctive for some to take issue with his wife Deborah for apparently provoking the situation. Obviously, she was the catalyst, but we weren't there and aren't privy to everything that went down. Since we cannot possibly know all the facts, this has to be written off simply as an awful tragedy and leave it to the God you worship, who is the only entity who can render a fair judgment. However, we now understand even more fully why we were given the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery". It was not give to oppress us, but rather to protect us against raw emotion that we cannot always control.

Rest well in Valhalla, brother. You've earned it.


Michael Burks said...

Sad in so many ways. I was never a big fan of VNN. Therefore, I never got into Free Talk Live. But I heard Yankee Jim on many Hal Turner shows. He was very funny and smart. Very fair and kind. I don't think anyone will ever know the real truth. I wish Jim would have handled his pain a different way. Not only did we lose a smart and gifted mind in the movement, but his children lost both of their parents.

RIP Yankee Jim, http://kentuckyanswp.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/rip-yankee-jim/

Anchorage Activist said...

Your assessment is right on target, Michael. This post was probably the most difficult I ever had to put together.

And I'm glad to see that you've also put the word out on your own blog. It's important that we don't allow the establishment media and the antis to dominate the story with their distorted version of events.

Michael Burks said...

I feel so guilty. There I was last night having the perfect day with my father. And yet, this took place the same day. I know there was nothing I could have done. But a part of me feels guilty that my day was so perfect. Out of all the people who could have done something like this, why Jim?

Judith said...

Oh, my heart is breaking.


I Know Things said...

I'm sad that the news reached me so late, but we need to carry on in his spirit, all his campaigns. we need to follow in his footsteps. unite all the activist Whites, it is natural we will have individual and personal differences, but when it comes to our cause, we need to put our similarities on top.
Rest well in Valhalla:
Yankee Jim, Channon Christian, and Chris Newsom