Jury: White supremacist guilty in Arizona bombing
PHOENIX (AP) — A federal jury on Friday found one of two white supremacist brothers guilty in the racially motivated bombing of a city official in suburban Phoenix in 2004.
Identical Illinois twins Dennis and Daniel Mahon, 61, were on trial for six weeks as dramatic testimony came from the bombing victim and a female government informant dubbed a “trailer park Mata Hari” by defense attorneys.
The jury found Dennis Mahon guilty in the bombing but found his identical twin brother Daniel Mahon not guilty.
The verdict came nearly eight years to the day since the Feb. 26, 2004, bombing that injured Don Logan, who is black and was Scottsdale’s diversity director at the time. Logan was hospitalized for three days and needed four surgeries on his hand and arm. The bombing also injured a secretary.
Prosecutors argued that the Mahon brothers bombed Logan on behalf of a group called the White Aryan Resistance, which they say encourages members to act as “lone wolves” and commit violence against non-whites and the government.
Defense attorneys said that someone working for the city of Scottsdale was a likelier candidate because Logan’s job made him unpopular. They also heavily criticized the use of 41-year-old Rebecca Williams as an informant, giving her the “trailer park Mata Hari” nickname — a reference to the Dutch exotic dancer who was convicted of working as a spy for Germany during World War I.
Investigators met the former stripper through her brother, an informant himself on the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, and recruited her for the Mahon case, directing her to act like a government separatist and racist. She wore revealing clothes and sent racy photos to the brothers to win their trust.
Williams met the brothers in January 2005 after investigators set her up in a government-provided trailer at a campground in Catoosa, Okla., where the brothers were staying at the time. A Confederate flag was placed in her window, and prosecutors say the Mahons introduced themselves within minutes of her arrival.
Over the years, the three mostly spoke over the phone, but they got together in person on several occasions. While apart, the informant sent the brothers several revealing photos of herself, including one of her from behind wearing chaps, a Confederate bikini bottom and a black leather jacket. Another photo showed her in a white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a pickup truck and a swastika.
Dennis Mahon opened up to Williams as their conversations were recorded, telling her how to make bombs after she told him a fictitious story that she wanted to harm a child molester she knew.
In one conversation, she asked Mahon if he ever had a bomb work, to which he replied: “Yeah, diversity officer.”
He also told her that the bomb used on Logan was a 1-by-5-inch pipe bomb, a fact that investigators never released publicly and that prosecutors said proved that Mahon was guilty because only the bomber could have known it.
Williams testified that she agreed to work with the government on the case because she was about to be evicted from her trailer and needed the money. She received $45,000, which included expenses, over a nearly five-year period, and said she was promised $100,000 upon the Mahons’ conviction.
Mahon’s attorney said that as a former stripper, Williams knew how to work men, and that she successfully worked investigators for money and the Mahons for information, “like she once worked a pole.”
While defense attorneys implied that Williams slept with Dennis Mahon and dangled sex in front of both brothers, prosecutors said she only flirted with the men and constantly was fending off their advances.
Logan, the bombing victim, was in court almost every day for the lengthy trial, and often appeared worried about how it was proceeding, putting his head in his hands and looking at the floor.
He also testified, choking up as he recalled the chaos after the bomb went off in his hand and describing how he frantically ran down a hallway before kneeling down, hearing a secretary scream, and looking down to see blood dripping on the carpet.
“I heard a pop that sounded like a gunshot and everything slowed down,” he said.
He said the next thing he remembered was feeling unbearable pain, the lights going out, the room filling with smoke and debris falling from the ceiling.
The same day in court, prosecutors played for jurors a voicemail that Dennis Mahon left at the diversity office a few months before the bombing.
“The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale,” Dennis Mahon said angrily in the recording. “There’s a few white people who are standing up.”
Dennis Mahon was found guilty of conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives; of malicious damage of a building by means of explosives; and distribution of information related to explosives. He will be sentenced May 22.
Daniel Mahon was found not guilty of a single count: conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives.
The Mahons were living in the Phoenix area at the time of the bombing but moved away soon afterward.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.