Court Battles

Judge applies ‘terrorism enhancement,’ sentences two neo-Nazi group members to 9 years

A Maryland judge applied a “terrorism enhancement” to the sentences of two neo-Nazi group members, giving them a total prison sentence of nine years each on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang said that he would be applying the enhancement to their prison sentences because he claimed that the “passion” and “virulence” to take down the U.S. government and murder lawmakers were evident in conversations captured in the two men’s apartment by a microphone and a closed-circuit television camera, The Associated Press reported.

Some of those conversations between Brian Mark Lemley Jr. and Patrik Jordan Mathews included murdering a lawmaker in Virginia, devastating power lines and rail lines and freeing mass murderer Dylann Storm Roof, who killed nine Black church members in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, according to the news outlet.

Roof was sentenced to death for that crime in 2017; he recently lost an appeal.

Lemly and Mathews claimed the actions did not reflect who they were as people.

“The things I said are horrible and don’t reflect who I really am or who my family raised me to be,” Lemly said, according to the AP. “Murder was never in my heart. Only foolish dreams of war glory and valor.”

The judge ruled otherwise Thursday.

“The court rejects the notion that this was merely talk among friends,” Chuang said.

In January 2020, both men were arrested after officials discovered that they were intending to bring firearms with them to a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Va. They were charged with multiple crimes in Maryland in an investigation linked to the white supremacist group The Base.

In June, both men pleaded guilty to charges relating to firearms; however, earlier this week it was reported by The Washington Post that Chuang was considering adding a “terrorism enhancement” to their sentences. 

The Hill has reached out to the defense lawyers of both men for comment.

Tags American neo-Nazis Dylann Storm Roof Far-right terrorism pro-gun rally richmond Terrorism terrorism enhancement The Base Theodore Chuang

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