PENNSYLVANIA

American Thule Society (ATS)
A small racist skinhead group with ties to the Keystone State Skinheads and the Maryland Skinheads. It claims membership in several other states, but its activities seem concentrated in eastern Pennsylvania.
Keystone United (formerly Keystone State Skinheads KSS)
A well-organized, well-established and increasingly violent group that formed in early 2001 in the Harrisburg area. The original impetus for the group's founding was a melee that took place in York, Pennsylvania, in late January of that year, when several hundred racist skinheads were attacked by anarchist groups at a rally sponsored by the World Church of the Creator (now known as the Creativity Movement). Over the next two years, KSS transformed itself from a mainly Harrisburg group to a network of seven regional crews that had members from every major city in the state and associates in New Jersey and Maryland.

KSS has a total membership that numbers around 70. Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Altoona have large chapters, while the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-based chapter is fairly small, with other KSS chapters falling somewhere in the middle. In early 2003, KSS began to capitalize on its growing prominence by conducting a series of concerts, first in Harrisburg, and then in a series of venues across the state. In late September 2003, Hammerskin Nation allowed KSS to help coordinate Hammerfest, which was held in Pennsylvania. By the beginning of 2004, KSS had become the largest group in the northeastern U.S., and its members had committed numerous bias attacks and other violent crimes. The KSS have very close ties to the Vinlanders Social Club (VSC), including a number of dual memberships.
    September 2008: On September 7, Philadelphia police officers arrested Keystone State Skinhead Andrew Boyle at a Philadelphia bar for being in possession of a knife. A summary trial is scheduled for December 1, 2008. At the time of his arrest, Boyle was out on bail awaiting trial on another matter.  Boyle, along with co-defendants and fellow Keystone State Skinheads Keith Carney and Doug Caffarella, and Atlantic City Skinhead Vincent DeFelice, are charged with assault and conspiracy in the alleged attack of another skinhead outside of a Philadelphia bar in 2007.  DeFelice is currently incarcerated in New Jersey on an unrelated matter, but the trial against Boyle, Carney and Caffarella is scheduled for late November 2008.

    July 2008: More than a year after a co-defendant pleaded guilty to double murder charges, a fellow racist skinhead followed suit at his hearing on May 23, 2008, in Florida. Charles Marovskis, 29, recently from West Pittston, Pennsylvania, but originally from Tampa, Florida, pleaded guilty to two federal charges of second-degree murder in connection with the 1998 beating death of two Florida homeless men.  On March 7, 2007, co-defendant and fellow racist skinhead Kenneth Hoover, 34, also from Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to the same charges. Both were arrested in Pennsylvania in early 2007, where they were members of KSS. Hoover entered a federal plea agreement in which he cooperated with the "investigation and prosecution of other persons" who participated in the attack, and in return, the State Attorney's Office did not seek the death penalty against him. While living in Florida, Marovskis and Hoover, along with co-defendants James Robertson and Corey Hulse, were members of the racist skinhead crew Blood and Honour.  In 1998 the four men allegedly committed the murders as part of a race war, with the goal of killing anyone they considered inferior, and to increase their status within the movement. Robertson, who is serving time in a federal prison for a murder conviction, pleaded not guilty on June 23, 2008.  Hulse remains a fugitive.  The body of one victim, a 62-year-old man, was discovered under a highway overpass.  He had been beaten and stabbed in the eye with a tire iron.  The second victim, a 44-year-old man, was killed with an ax and later found in the woods.  The homeless are a common target of attacks by racist skinheads, primarily because they are vulnerable and usually defenseless targets.   In March 2007, three members of the Indiana-based Vinlanders Social Club, a racist skinhead organization that helped raise funds for Marovskis after his arrest, were themselves arrested in Indiana for allegedly assaulting a homeless man. 

    April 2008: A wave of anti-Semitic and racist fliers and incidents of vandalism has plagued towns throughout Luzerne County, Pennsylvania in the first four months of 2008. The Keystone State Skinheads posted racist fliers throughout neighborhoods and hung a banner promoting their white supremacist ideology over a highway in early April. In a separate incident, a local 18-year-old girl faces charges for spray painting a synagogue and vacant building with swastikas and anti-Semitic language, including words that the Nazis used to describe Jews during the Holocaust. In January 2008, KSS members posted racist fliers throughout Wilkes-Barre that suggested that the presence of minorities in the community will lead to "Drugs, Crime, Graffiti, Trash-Covered Streets," as well as "gangs and violence." In a post and photos on the KSS Website, the group claimed responsibility for the fliers. Two months later, in late March 2008, two teenage girls allegedly targeted Congregation Ohav Zedek, a Wilkes-Barre synagogue by spray painting a star of David, swastikas and defamatory language on its doors, including the words "abschaum," German for "scum," and "Juden," German for Jews, which was written on the yellow stars that Nazis forced European Jews to wear during World War II. KSS members were not involved in the synagogue vandalism. On April 2, a swastika and the words "Hitler was right" were found spray painted on a vacant building owned by an Ohav Zedek member, the day before a community ceremony to remove the anti-Semitic graffiti from the synagogue. The next day, April 3, following a tip given to police by a local teenage male two days earlier, authorities arrested Nora Rynkeiwicz, an 18-year-old resident of Factoryville, and an unidentified 17-year-old teenage female for the acts of anti-Semitic vandalism against Ohav Zedek and the vacant building. Rynkeiwicz, out on bail after a brief prison stay, faces charges of institutional vandalism, criminal mischief, ethnic intimidation, and criminal conspiracy. In a search of her home on April 1, police reportedly found spray paint cans, which they believe were used to deface the buildings. The 17-year-old, who claims minor participation in the vandalism, will be charged in a juvenile court.  Rynkeiwicz espouses a neo-Nazi ideology, according to friends and her MySpace page, which reportedly included swastikas, the words "WHITE SOLDIERS," and Hitler listed as a hero. Just days later, local newspapers reported sightings of racist fliers in Pittston, Shickshinny, and Port Griffith, all towns in Luzerne County. The individual responsible for the fliers remains unknown; however, the KSS website was printed at the bottom of them.  The KSS reappeared on April 6, when a banner saying "PRESERVE OUR HERITAGE" and promoting the KSS Web site was found hanging from a bridge over a Wilkes-Barre highway. Photos on the group's Web site reveal KSS members creating an identical sign and similar banners. The captions beneath the photos say, "Activism in Wilkes-Barre."

    January 2007: Keystone State Skinhead members Todd Clair Sager and Edward Locke were sentenced to 21 months to 10 years and 33 months to 10 years respectively for their involvement in a March 2005 bar fight. Both men pleaded guilty to a variety of aggravated assault charges stemming from a fight in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, in which Locke stabbed two men upon the orders of Sager. Earlier that same afternoon, the two were seen harassing a mixed-race couple in the same bar while Sager spoke about being a leader for the Keystone State Skinheads. In addition to their prison sentences, the presiding judge ordered both men to refrain from any associations with white supremacists - both inside prison as well as outside when they are released.

    April 2003: Two associates of the Lancaster Keystone State Skinheads were arrested and charged with ethnic intimidation and terroristic threats for making racist and threatening comments to three black patrons in a Lancaster-area bar. The two men are also tied to the Lancaster/York chapter of Eastern Hammerskins.

    March 2003: Three KSS members, Keith Carney, Steve Monteforte, and Steve Smith, were arrested in Scranton for beating a black man, Antoni Williams, with stones and pieces of pavement. Smith and Monteforte pleaded guilty to ethnic intimidation and terroristic threats, with Monteforte receiving a year's probation (which was suspended), and Smith receiving a sixty-day sentence and probation. In January 2004, Carney received a one- to three-year sentence, a much harsher ruling, attributed to his failure to fulfill the probation requirements of a conviction for a December 2001 incident in Philadelphia when Carney posted racist fliers on a Vietnam Veterans memorial.

    September 2002: Three Greensburg-area KSS members, Todd Sager, 25, Jason Hayden, 27, and Christopher Keough, 20, beat a former member, Christopher Morosko, 25, who refused to return his KSS “colors,” the jacket emblems worn by members. The three pleaded guilty to assault on March 3, 2003, and were all released for time served.

    June 2002: Robert Gaus, a KSS founder, and KSS members Douglas Sonier and Joseph Hoesch, were arrested by police outside the Suburban Diner in Feasterville, near Philadelphia, for assaulting a man who asked them to stop throwing food at his table. The victim was struck several times and left on the diner’s floor. All three pleaded guilty to a charge of simple assault and were given suspended sentences.
Volksfront
Volksfront developed in the 1990s in the Oregon State Prison system, and is largely made up of racist skinheads. In recent years, it has expanded to other areas of the country, including the Northeast. In November 2007, Volksfront announced that Pennsylvania had an officially sanctioned probationary chapter of the Volsfront Eastern Division. The chapter’s 1 year probationary period ended in August 2008 when their status was changed to full chapter of Volksfront.

Unaffiliated Skinheads
    August 2008: On August 25, 2008, a judge in a Philadelphia court of common pleas sentenced racist skinhead Thomas Gibison to the maximum sentence allowed for his role in the killing of an African-American man in North Philadelphia in 1989. The judge sentenced Gibison to 12 ½ to 27 ½ years to run consecutively, with credit for two years already served. In June 2008, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury convicted Gibison of conspiracy to commit murder and firearms violations in the 1989 slaying of an African-American man, but acquitted him on a more serious charge. The jury handed down the verdict against Thomas Gibison, 37, of Newark, Delaware, on June 3, 2008, after three days of deliberations. On April 16, 1989, a 33-year-old African-American man was found dead from a single gunshot to the head in North Philadelphia. The case remained cold until 2006, when Gibison’s former girlfriend contacted authorities. During Gibison’s trial, two of his ex-girlfriends, as well as a childhood friend and alleged accomplice, testified that Gibison was the shooter and that he had committed the murder to earn a spider web tattoo. Although the jury convicted Gibison of conspiracy to commit murder and weapons violations in having a firearm at the time of the incident, they acquitted him on the charges of first-degree murder and ethnic intimidation. According to media reports following the verdict, the jurors may have misunderstood the law regarding a hung jury. The jurors allegedly told reporters that because one juror did not want to convict on the murder charge, the other 11 erroneously believed that a hung jury would result in Gibison’s release, so they compromised. Gibison's skinhead friend and alleged accomplice to the incident, Craig Peterson, 38, testified for the prosecution that, on the night of the incident, the two men decided to go out and kill a black person. He stated that there were too many people around their home in Delaware, so Peterson drove the two in his mother’s car to North Philadelphia. Peterson explained that the two men were skinheads and wanted to “earn” spider web tattoos by killing a black person. Peterson said that he watched as Gibison, then 17, fatally shot the victim in the head. During the trial, the judge did not allow photos of Gibison's Hitler and swastika tattoos or his white supremacist books and materials to be entered into evidence. She did allow prosecutors to show jurors a photo of Gibison and Peterson together, baring the spider web tattoos on their elbows.  There is a possibility that federal civil rights charges may also be filed against him. Gibison’s criminal record, which was not admitted at trial because the incidents occurred after the murder, includes a conviction for shooting up a car with people inside at a Delaware mall in 1989 and a subsequent conviction for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, for which he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

    January 2007
    : The former leader of the Pittsburgh chapter of the white supremacist group World Church of the Creator (now known as the Creativity Movement), Harold (Hardy) Lloyd, was given probation for weapons charges stemming from the 2004 shooting death of his girlfriend. On January 16, a judge sentenced Lloyd to three years probation for misdemeanor firearms violations.
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Terror Plot in Tennessee
On October 22, 2008, the Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), uncovered and prevented what could have been the deadliest extremist shooting spree in years, designed to culminate with the assassination of Barack Obama.


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CAVEAT: NOT EVERY SKINHEAD A RACIST
The skinhead subculture was not originally racist —and, in fact, today around the world there remain many non-racist or explicitly anti-racist skinheads (often called sharps, for “skinheads against racial prejudice”).



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