Boston Couple Plotted Blasts to Incite Race War, Prosecutor Says

New York Times/July 16, 2002

Boston -- A Boston couple planned to blow up Jewish and black landmarks in the hope of inciting racial warfare, a prosecutor said today in federal court here. The two, Leo Felton, 31, and Erica Chase, 22, are being tried together on charges of conspiracy, counterfeiting and obstruction of justice.

The couple wanted to destroy the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, hoping their actions "would lead to an all-white Aryan nation," an assistant United States attorney, Theodore Merritt, said in his opening statement.

Mr. Felton told Thomas Struss, a fellow inmate at a New Jersey prison, that he planned to make influential blacks and Jews, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Steven Spielberg, his targets, Mr. Merritt said.

When he was released from prison in January 2001, Mr. Felton moved to Ipswich, Mass. Mr. Struss joined him a month later, and the two robbed a Boston bank of $1,100 on Feb. 20 to finance their supremacist activities, Mr. Merritt said.

Mr. Struss, who was arrested on Feb. 28 in New Jersey on a robbery charge stemming from another case, will testify that Mr. Felton planned to detonate a fertilizer bomb, Mr. Merritt said.

Mr. Felton and Ms. Chase were arrested on April 19, 2001, while trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a local Dunkin' Donuts. The police searched their apartment in the North End of Boston and found a "mountain of evidence," including a "veritable menu" of books on identification changes and explosives, as well as newspaper clippings about the New England Holocaust Memorial, another target, Mr. Merritt said. The police also seized cartoons drawn by Mr. Felton that depict a white supremacist who goes to jail and, upon release, plants bombs at Anti-Defamation League offices and black housing projects.

Lenore Glaser, the lawyer for Mr. Felton, said in opening arguments that the drawings showed that her client was an artist and that even if many people disagreed with his views, he had the right to express them.

"The government has colored its entire case with ideas, with political speech," Ms. Glaser said.

Mr. Felton and Ms. Chase were members of white power groups, the authorities said. Mr. Felton belonged to the White Order of Thule, and Ms. Chase was affiliated with the World Church of the Creator. The two met after Ms. Chase wrote letters to inmates, persuading them to join the group with which she associated. The two corresponded for months, and in April 2001, Ms. Chase moved to Boston from Indiana.

Ms. Chase's lawyer, Timothy Watkins, said Mr. Felton manipulated Ms. Chase. "Leo Felton exercised his power over Erica Chase to persuade her to do the things he wanted," Mr. Watkins said.

A friend of Ms. Chase, [Ms. M.], testified that after being arrested, Ms. Chase asked her to throw out some items from the apartment, including a bag containing 50 pounds of ammonium nitrate, wiring from a coffee maker and uncut counterfeit bills. [Ms. M.] was instructed to keep a gun and some personal belongings, including a silver box of letters, she said.

[Ms. M.], a 22-year-old Harvard student, said she knew that Mr. Felton and Ms. Chase were planning to build a bomb, but did not seek more information about their plans.

"I was intimidated," she said. "Leo just got out of jail, and Erica was moving here on a whim. I didn't want to interrupt anything."

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.


Educational DVDs and Videos