White supremacist accused of targeting D.C. museum

Globe Staff/September 20, 2001
By Shelley Murphy

A white supremacist charged with plotting to blow up local Jewish or African-American landmarks was also allegedly targeting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, according to federal officials.

Leo V. Felton, 30, who was charged in June with stockpiling bombmaking materials inside his apartment in Boston's North End, faced new charges yesterday for allegedly robbing a Boston bank and plotting to rob an armored car to finance neo-Nazi activities.

The new charges also alleged he had targeted the Washington Holocaust museum.

''Last week's acts of terrorism on the United States show how deadly hatred can be,'' said US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan in a prepared statement during his first day on the job. ''The actions of a few individuals can gravely affect the lives of many innocent people.''

The original indictment, returned in June, charges Felton and his girlfriend, Erica Chase, with plotting to blow up the landmarks to ignite a ''racial war.''

Sullivan said it was fortunate that Felton and Chase, 21, had been arrested before they could carry out their alleged plans to attack sites associated with the Jewish and African-American communities, including the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge and the New England Holocaust Memorial near Faneuil Hall.

New counts added to an indictment returned earlier against Felton and Chase charge Felton with robbing the Citizen's Bank on Boylston Street last Feb. 21.

The indictment alleges that Felton stood guard outside with a gun while Thomas Struss handed a bank teller a note demanding money and fled with $1,128.

Felton is also charged with plotting with Struss, who he had met when the two were in a New Jersey prison together, to rob an armored truck. The plot was foiled, according to the indictment, when Struss was arrested by police in Mantua Township, N.J., on Feb. 27 while allegedly stealing a car to be used in the heist.

Felton and another accomplice, identified only as ''Conan,'' allegedly planned to stage the armored truck robbery in Gloucester County, N.J., and Felton had ordered Struss to steal the car, according to the indictment.

Lenore M. Glaser, Felton's court-appointed attorney, declined to comment on the charges, saying she had yet to see the superseding indictment. But, Glaser said, ''It is particularly dangerous in these times to recklessly use the word terrorist. As Americans, we cherish our legal system, which protects the innocent and which does not criminalize ideas.

Leo Felton asserts his innocence and asks that the public not pass judgment until the evidence is heard at trial.''

The bombing plot was uncovered after a Boston police officer arrested Felton and Chase last April when they allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a Dunkin' Donuts in East Boston.

The Secret Service and FBI joined the case and discovered a notebook in the couple's Salem Street apartment with recipes for An-al and ANFO, the same mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil that was used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Investigators also interviewed an associate of the couple, who said Felton had purchased 50 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the same fertilizer used by McVeigh.

The Globe reported in June that investigators suspected Felton was financing his neo-Nazi activities by robbing banks and printing counterfeit money.

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