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Klan sect leader gets prison time



Published: Sat, February 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The man was sentenced under federal anti-terror statute.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The leader of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group received a 12-year prison sentence Friday in the nation's first federal conviction under a new anti-terror statute.

David Wayne Hull, 42, of Amwell Township, Washington County, taught another man how to use a pipe bomb at a November 2002 white supremacist gathering on Hull's property. He also gave bomb parts to the other man, a government informant who posed as a violent anti-abortion activist.

The 2002 anti-terror statute bans instructing others how to use pipe bombs or other dangerous weapons in furtherance of a crime. It carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking pushed for a longer sentence on the grounds that Hull's activities potentially endangered the government, but U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster ruled that wasn't proven.

Hull's actions were only "marginally politically motivated ... [and] stemmed in large part from Mr. Hull's need to transform himself from an otherwise insignificant or obscure entity to an individual of artificially inflated stature and rank," Lancaster said.

Hull was defiant throughout the proceeding, calling Lancaster a liar when the judge -- who is black -- said he didn't consider Hull's "political or societal views" in imposing the sentence.

Asked by Lancaster whether he had read a presentence report detailing his accused crimes and personal background, Hull said, "It's as full of holes as the federal government's 9-11 report."

At the time of Hull's arrest, a Web site for a group called the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had a photo of him holding a gun in front of a Confederate flag. The Web site included Hull's address, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Playing the feds

Hull didn't deny involvement with the now-defunct group at his May trial. But he minimized his association with John Carmelo, the federal informant who posed as a member of the Army of God, a group that has praised those who kill abortion doctors and bomb clinics.

Hull testified he suspected Carmelo, a former white supremacist, was working with the government. That's why, Hull said, he didn't give Carmelo a fuse along with the other bomb parts.

Hull's federal public defender, W. Penn Hackney, argued for a lower sentence, saying Hull didn't really instruct someone on how to use a pipe bomb in a crime, because Hull knew Carmelo didn't plan to detonate the bomb, Hackney said.

"This was part of his end game of what he called playing the feds," Hackney said, "and what I'll call sticking his tongue out at the government."

Hull was convicted of four illegal weapons charges, including the anti-terror statute, pertaining to the pipe bomb parts he gave Carmelo. He was also found guilty of possessing an illegal silencer and for possessing 15 guns after being convicted of terroristic threats in 2001.

Hull didn't respond to the sentence, but his fiancee, Yvonne Stanley, 29, of Washington, Pa., issued a four-page letter Hull wrote to the media in which he accused his attorney, judge and federal prosecutors of bias and other illegalities.

"Where are the victims of my so-called crime? There are none. Who suffered from my so-called crimes? No one," Hull wrote.

Hull's trial ended in a split verdict with a jury acquitting him of other weapons charges stemming from pipe bombs set off in abandoned cars on two occasions in 2002 on his property.

'Ill-conceived' efforts

Hull was also convicted of a seventh charge, witness tampering, involving a woman who helped him publish his newsletter, Knightwatch. Prosecutors said Hull wanted the woman to deny to investigators that he sometimes wrote articles using the pen name "Unknown Terrorist," including some about weapons. Lancaster said Hull's efforts to get the woman to recant were so ill-conceived he didn't even hold that against him at sentencing.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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