January 8, 2003
Federal agents arrest Matt Hale, the national leader of the neo- Nazi World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), as he reports to a Chicago courthouse in an ongoing copyright case over the name of his group. Hale is charged with soliciting the murder of the federal judge in the case, Joan Humphrey Lefkow, who he has publicly vilified as someone bent on the destruction of his group. (Although Lefkow originally ruled in WCOTC’s favor, an appeals court found that the complaint brought by an identically named church in Oregon was legally justified, and Lefkow reversed herself accordingly.) In guarded language captured on tape recordings, Hale is heard agreeing that his security chief, an FBI informant, should kill Lefkow. Hale is found guilty and sentenced to serve 40 years in federal prison; he is not expected to be released until 2037.
The Second Wave: Return of the Militias
Southern Poverty Law Center Special Report