PHOENIX (AP) – A white supremacist was convicted in a 2004 bombing that injured a black city official in suburban Phoenix, but his identical twin brother was acquitted.
The federal jury Friday stopped short of finding Dennis Mahon guilty of a hate crime.
The 61-year-old twins from Illinois 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 of three charges in the bombing but found Daniel Mahon, also a white supremacist, not guilty of the one charge he faced: conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives.
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.
Logan told The Associated Press that the verdict was bittersweet for him.
“It’s not illegal to be a racist but it is illegal to act upon that racism, especially when you injure people,” he said. “This, to me, is a hallmark case that reached that racial discord, that hate.”
During the trial, 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.
They played surveillance tapes of the brothers referring to Logan in racial slurs and a voicemail that Dennis Mahon left at the diversity office just months before the bombing in which he angrily said: “The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There’s a few white people who are standing up.”
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 recruited the former stripper 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.
Over the years, the three mostly spoke over the phone, but they got together in person on several occasions. While apart, she 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.
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 faces between seven and 100 years in prison at his May 22 sentencing.
Logan 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.
On Friday, Logan said that every time he’s been in court he tried to make eye contact with the Mahons, but that they never would look at him. But he noticed that they were watching him with intensity when he re-enacted the bombing during testimony.
“It was almost like they were getting off on me sharing that moment when they sent their prized gift and it detonated,” he said.
Logan worked personally with the Justice Department to have prosecutors seek a hate-crime finding from jurors, which would have required whatever prison term Mahon gets to be longer. He said that when he speaks to U.S. District Judge David Campbell at the sentencing, he’ll ask that Mahon spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“Dennis Mahon is a danger to any community, and to me, he doesn’t deserve to be out,” Logan said.
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