The former leader of a West Virginia-based neo-Nazi group will spend seven years in federal prison for civil rights violations he committed in Utah.
Shaun A. Walker, 39, who lists his home address as Hillsboro, W.Va., and two others were convicted by a Salt Lake City jury in April of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and interference with a federally protected activity.
Walker was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson, who included three years of probation and a fine of $5,000.
Walker was chairman of the National Alliance when he was arrested in June 2006 near the group’s Mill Point compound in Pocahontas County. He stepped down as leader of the white supremacist organization soon after his arrest.
He and the two others convicted at trial with him beat a Mexican-American patron at O’Shucks, a private liquor club in Salt Lake City, on Dec. 31, 2002. They also assaulted an American Indian outside Port O’Call, another Salt Lake City club, on March 15, 2003.
The charges came after an investigation by Salt Lake City police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Walker was the second person to head the Pocahontas County-based National Alliance since founder William Pierce died in 2002. Erik Gliebe of Cleveland immediately succeeded Pierce and took over again after Walker stepped aside.
Once considered the largest and richest white supremacist group in the nation, the National Alliance has seen a steady membership decline since Pierce’s death, officials with the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups, have said.
When Walker was arrested, the National Alliance listed 15 chapters throughout the nation, including one in Salt Lake City. It now lists 10, with none in Utah.
No one answered the telephone Thursday at the Mill Creek compound or returned a message requesting comment.
At its peak in 2001-02, the National Alliance had as many as 2,000 dues-paying members, Joe Roy with the SPLC said last year. He estimated in November that membership is down to about 200 people.
After Walker’s trial, the National Alliance started a defense fund, soliciting donations on its Web site and looking for attorneys willing to represent its members.
“With the recent arrests and selective prosecution of National Alliance leaders Shaun Walker, Travis Massey and other pro-White activists, we are initiating a National Alliance General Defense Fund to help in securing the proper legal counsel for our leaders and activists who have been unfairly targeted by a corrupt and desperate system,” it states on the group’s Web site.
It has an additional plea for attorneys “in all jurisdictions” to take cases of National Alliance members involving “pamphleting, leafleting and access issues.”
Cases also involve “political targeting and political profiling of a Politically Incorrect organization,” the Web site notice states.
Also sentenced with Walker was Eric Egbert, 22, of Salt Lake City. Benson sentenced him to 31/2 years in prison. The third man convicted of the charges, Travis D. Massey, 30, of Salt Lake City, had his sentencing delayed until next month.
The National Alliance gained prominence among white supremacist groups following the Oklahoma City federal courthouse bombing in 1995. Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of the bombing, based his plan on parts of “The Turner Diaries,” a novel written by Pierce. McVeigh also telephoned Pierce’s Pocahontas County compound several times near the time of the bombing.