A 21-year-old Arizona man who pleaded responsible to serving to a neo-Nazi group threaten and intimidate journalists was sentenced on Wednesday to 16 months in federal jail.
The person, Johnny Roman Garza of Queen Creek, Ariz., was amongst a handful of individuals linked to a violent paramilitary neo-Nazi group, the Atomwaffen Division, who were arrested in February, prosecutors in Virginia and Washington State introduced.
Brian T. Moran, america legal professional for the Western District of Washington, mentioned in an announcement that Mr. Garza didn’t give you the scheme however “enthusiastically embraced” it.
Mr. Garza, who pleaded responsible in September to a conspiracy cost within the case, admitted that he had researched residence addresses for potential targets and that in January he had put a threatening poster on the bed room window of an editor of a Jewish publication in Arizona. The poster confirmed a hooded skeleton holding a Molotov cocktail in entrance of a burning residence, with the phrases “Your actions have penalties” and “Our Endurance Has Its Limits,” based on court docket paperwork.
The poster additionally included private details about the editor, prosecutors mentioned.
The case was dealt with within the Western District of Washington as a result of one defendant was positioned there when he led the conspiracy, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor mentioned.
Mr. Garza appeared by way of Zoom on Wednesday from Arizona for sentencing by a choose within the federal courthouse in Seattle. He additionally admitted that he had tried in January to place up an identical poster at an condo complicated in Phoenix the place a member of the Arizona Affiliation of Black Journalists lived, however was unable to discover a place to show it.
Others folks in Atomwaffen focused a broadcast journalist in Seattle who had reported on Atomwaffen and two folks related to the Anti-Defamation League, officers mentioned. The New York Occasions reported earlier that Kirstjen Nielsen, who on the time was secretary of homeland safety, was additionally among the many targets.
Margaret Huang, president and chief govt of the Southern Poverty Legislation Heart, mentioned in an announcement that the group was “glad that Garza might be punished for his anti-Semitic and hate-filled threats” but additionally mentioned that it got here amid a rising wave of violence from white supremacists.
Seth M. Apfel, a lawyer for Mr. Garza, mentioned in an interview on Wednesday that his shopper, who might be on supervised launch for 3 years as soon as he will get out of jail, was working to depart that lifetime of hate behind.
Mr. Garza “went from harboring these views” to “fully embracing the precise reverse view,” his lawyer mentioned.
“The sunshine bulb began going off when he went into custody,” Mr. Apfel mentioned.
Mr. Garza, who will give up to authorities at a date to be decided to begin his sentence, has already distanced himself from his former associates, Mr. Apfel mentioned. Mr. Garza has taken courses to study Black and Jewish tradition and needs to work with the authorities and activists to forestall different folks from getting pulled into hate teams, Mr. Apfel mentioned.
“Actually, in my opinion, his transformation was very honest,” Mr. Apfel mentioned. “And I’m saying that not solely as a lawyer but additionally as a Jewish man who’s married to a Black girl.”
Mr. Garza is the primary defendant within the case to be sentenced. One other defendant who pleaded responsible in September is scheduled to be sentenced in February; two extra individuals who officers mentioned led the group, Kaleb Cole and Cameron Brandon Shea, are scheduled to go to trial in March.