The Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune report that on July 22nd, 2009, former National Alliance members Shaun Walker and Travis Massey had their prison sentences virtually sliced in half by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson in Salt Lake City. The review and re-sentencing was necessitated by an April ruling of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned several sentencing factors and remanded the case back to Judge Benson for re-consideration. Judge Benson re-sentenced Walker to 37 months, and Massey to 30 months. This, of course, includes time already served.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 25-page April ruling can be read HERE.
Two major flaws in the case were found by the Appeals Court. One was the U.S. District Court's finding that one victim suffered "serious bodily injury." The appeals court said there was no evidence of serious bodily injury, not enough eyewitness evidence to show the man who was beaten would have needed medical care, and he could not be found after the attack. This is in reference to the second incident at the Port O'Call.
In addition, Walker challenged an "enhancement" of his sentencing because he had been characterized as a "leader or organizer" of the group. "From the record, it does not appear that Mr. Walker exercised any more authority than any other member of the group," the Appeals Court wrote. "The mere fact of Mr. Walker's leadership position in the (National Alliance) does not indicate he held a leadership position with respect to the criminal enterprise".
As a result, Shaun Walker, originally sentenced to 87 months, will now have only five months left to serve, and it's possible he may be relocated to a Federal halfway house. He now estimates his release date to be December 2009. Travis Massey, originally sentenced to 57 months, may be released in as little as two months.
The third defendant, Eric Egbert, who was also a former National Alliance member, was not a part of the appeal, and continues to serve his original 42-month sentence.
In court Wednesday, defense attorneys for Walker and Massey praised their clients as extraordinary citizens with no criminal histories. Attorney Ann Taliaferro said her client always preached to his followers to "stay legal." "He is not a violent man," she said. Attorney Deirdre Gorman pointed out that Massey had served in the Marine Corps and had only two semesters left of college. Massey had also indicated to the court that he aspired to become an English teacher.
Judge Benson still felt the original sentences were appropriate. Benson said these were serious offenses motivated by racial hatred. Benson pointed out that while at a local bar, the men handed out anti-immigration stickers that stated nonwhites were "messy" and "noisy," and that they were turning America into a "Third-World slum." But in the end, Benson did the right thing and reduced the sentences. Besides, he only needs to drive through the Rose Park, Poplar Grove, and Glendale sections of Salt Lake City to see that nonwhites are indeed turning parts of America into a "Third-world slum".
Update: Current National Alliance Chairman Erich Gliebe, who replaced Shaun Walker in the position after Walker resigned in 2006 as a condition of bail, posted the following statement on the Resistance Forum: "Glad to see Shaun and Travis have had their sentences reduced, although they should have never even been convicted in the first place". This is in tribute to the fact that although Walker and Massey are no longer activists, they courageously refused to grovel or recant. Additional white nationalist reaction now posted on Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network Forum.
For those who want to know more about the case or need a refresher:
-- All previous posts on the indictment phase viewable HERE.
-- All previous posts on the trial phase viewable HERE.
Shaun Walker has his own website HERE, and gives us the straight talk on this case HERE. Walker also has a Twitter account HERE.
I'll give the Deseret News credit for some halfway objective reporting. For once, they didn't refer to the National Alliance as a "neo-Nazi" or "white supremacist" organization. Instead, they describe it as espousing anti-immigration and racial separatist rhetoric.
One individual posted a supportive comment to the Salt Lake Tribune story:
Foreverknight: 7/22/2009 5:55:00 PM +3
So it is ok for blacks to frighten people during the elections with baseball bats and nothing is done. Our country is so out of swing by being politically correct it is going to destroy us. Well we cant hire the white fireman who had a better score says the new Supreme Court justice. Our country is going to be the new Mexico unless something is done to where all the laws apply to all the people the same!
First, Bill White gets the Chicago charges quashed. Now, Shaun Walker and Travis Massey get their sentences reduced. Two partial victories for the good guys in the same week.