Attorney wants to bring out neo-Nazi leader’s softer side

NEW PORT RICHEY – Brian “Zero” Buckley is a white supremacist. He was president of the Teak Street neo-Nazis. The tattoo on his forehead proclaims his allegiance to the American Nazis. And the career criminal could spend as much as 30 years behind bars for burglary.

But before the neo-Nazi is sentenced to prison, defense attorney Grady Irvin Jr. hopes to bring out the other Brian Buckley.

The Buckley who lost his 22-year-old son, Zeke, last year to complications with his medication. The Buckley who is bipolar and has been getting mental health treatment for the last five years. The Buckley who has twice attempted suicide.

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And the Buckley who needs a heart transplant. His doctor said Buckley has cardiomyopathy: His heart muscle has become inflamed and doesn’t work as it should.

“We just want to let you see who he is,” Irvin said. “He’s not what you read in the newspaper or what you see on television.”

Buckley, 44, was convicted in October of leading a racist mob that tried to storm neighbor Patricia Wells’ house March 7. Sixteen days later, prosecutors said, fellow neo-Nazi John Ditullio burst into Wells’ home, injured her and fatally stabbed her friend’s son, Kristofer King, 17.

Buckley’s sentencing in the March 7 attack was postponed Friday, but Irvin was laying the groundwork to ask for a lenient sentence.

While Buckley is a white supremacist, his attorney is black, and his cardiologist, Dr. Abdur Rahim, was born in India.

The doctor had no idea that his patient is a neo-Nazi.

“I saw it in the newspaper for the first time,” he said. “I was surprised by it. But anything in the world is possible.”

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