Parole denied for supremacist tied to Berg killing
Nov. 22, 2003
Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday November 24, 2003
Richard Joseph Scutari, one of the leaders of The Order, the white-supremacist group that assassinated Denver talk- show host Alan Berg, cannot apply for parole until January 2016, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled Friday.
Matsch, who presided over the 1987 trial of The Order members accused of killing Berg, slammed shut Scutari’s bid for freedom in a tersely worded nine-page opinion.
Scutari had applied for parole on July 30, 2000. His bid was rejected by the U.S. Parole Commission, which said Scutari couldn’t reapply until 2016.
Matsch upheld that finding Friday.
Scutari, chief of security for The Order and known as “Mr. Black” within the neo-Nazi clan, had sought parole in a case in which he was sentenced to 60 years for his activities with The Order, not for his alleged role in Berg’s death.
The 60-year sentence was imposed for racketeering, conspiracy and obstruction of interstate commerce. The sentence was handed down by a federal judge in Washington state in June 1986. Scutari became eligible for parole in March 1996.
Matsch noted that the charges stemmed from The Order’s attempts to establish a separate white state by forming an army, committing assassinations of alleged enemies, including government officials, establishing a war chest, acquiring money through armed robberies and recruiting new members.
Matsch said that during The Order’s spree of terror, Scutari was a participant in the Brink’s armored-car robbery in Ukiah, Calif., in July 1984.
Authorities also claimed that Scutari was deeply involved in the Berg assassination.
On the night of Berg’s murder June 18, 1984, investigators alleged that neo-Nazi Bruce Pierce sprayed 13 bullets into Berg shortly after 9 o’clock; former Denver Ku Klux Klan organizer David Lane acted as the getaway driver, and Scutari and Order founder Bob Mathews were lookouts.
The government alleged that Jean Craig of Laramie made trips to Denver where she spied on Berg in the weeks prior to his murder. She allegedly relayed that information to Mathews.
Scutari went on trial in 1987 for violating Berg’s civil rights, along with Pierce, Lane and Craig. The U.S. Justice Department filed the civil rights charges after then-Denver District Attorney Norm Early declined to file murder charges because of what he said was insufficient evidence.
Mathews had died earlier in a shootout with the FBI in December 1984.
Pierce and Lane were convicted of violating Berg’s civil rights, but Scutari and Craig were acquitted.
Scutari was particularly incensed that authorities rejected parole, in part, because of his alleged involvement in Berg’s murder.
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