White supremacist to serve 40 years for bank robberies

Jeremiah Vaughn Gregory says he’s honored to participate in the effort to overthrow the U.S. government and establish a “racially pure” homeland in the West. For the next several decades, though, the white supremacist will have to support his cause from behind bars.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell sentenced Gregory to 20 years in prison for robbing a Salt Lake City bank. The term will run consecutively to a 20-year sentence imposed last year by a federal judge in Montana for a bank heist in Missoula.

There is no parole in the federal system, only time off for good behavior. At most, Gregory will be able to shave off six years from his time.

A jury earlier this summer convicted Gregory of robbing a Wells Fargo Bank at 1955 W. North Temple in 2005. Prosecutors allege he pretended to be carrying a bomb and threatened to detonate it unless a teller handed over cash.

Police say a tipster identified Gregory from a surveillance camera photograph and he was arrested six days later in Idaho. Authorities claim that between the Salt Lake City holdup and his arrest, Gregory robbed the Missoula bank. He pleaded guilty to that crime.

Gregory, a 51-year-old non-lawyer who represented himself at his Utah trial, argued his crime was politically justified because he was planning to use the money to fund efforts to overthrow the government.

As a member of The Order, a fundamentalist element of the Aryan nation, Gregory claimed he was trying to save the United States from the influence of minorities and immigrants. He told the jury that he supported the “10% Solution” that calls for Utah, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to secede and form a white homeland.

The jurors took just 12 minutes to convict Gregory.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Gregory appeared prepared for his fate. He gave a statement alleging a right to violently overthrow the government and promising revenge on Cassell.

“You have turned this courtroom into a cesspool,” Gregory told the judge. “What has occurred in this courtroom has been a travesty of justice. I want you to be assured there will be retribution.”

He added that he would like to be the one to “visit revenge to your doorstep” but said he has to leave that to others.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a term of 120 to 150 months, but Cassell increased the punishment because of Gregory’s long history of participation in bank robberies and his vow to continue his “racial holy war.”

Prosecutors say Gregory got $719 in the Salt Lake City robbery and $2,430 in the Missoula heist.

A charge that he assaulted a Department of Corrections employee in Florence, Colo., is still pending. Details of that alleged offense were unavailable Thursday.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 24, 2007.
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