Spokane -- The leader of a white supremacist group has testified before a federal grand jury investigating the shootings at a Los Angeles-area Jewish center, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Richard Butler, 81, founder and head of the Aryan Nations church in Hayden Lake, Idaho, was ordered to travel to Los Angeles at taxpayers' expense to testify behind close doors on Nov. 10, The Spokesman-Review reported. The focus of the investigation is Buford O. Furrow Jr., 37, a former Aryan Nations security guard who most recently lived near Olympia.
Furrow is charged with wounding five people, including three children, at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, Calif., and killing a Postal Service carrier nearby Aug. 10. He is in custody without bond and could face the death penalty if convicted. No trial date has been set.
FBI agents served Butler with a subpoena last month, and the FBI is also looking for other people who may have known Furrow while he was at the Aryan Nations compound in 1995, The Spokesman-Review reported. Butler told the newspaper that he was surprised at being summoned, did not have a lawyer present and answered questions before the grand jury for less than an hour.
Butler said he was questioned by assistant U.S. attorney Michael Gennaco about Christian Identity beliefs, which hold that white people are the true children of God, the real Israelites.
"Apparently, they just wanted me to explain my Christian beliefs," he said. Butler said he was asked about his relationship with Furrow and told the grand jury he remembered the younger man, but had very little contact with him.
"I only talked with him a few times," Butler said.
Furrow was indicted Aug. 19 on charges of killing a federal employee, using a firearm in a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
"The investigation continues into other allegations surrounding the crime
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