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Arizona Neo-Nazi Guilty in Murder of Gay Man

A jury in Tucson, Arizona, has reached a guilty verdict in the trial of an avowed neo-Nazi accused of the brutal murder of a gay man, an incident police classified as a hate crime.

On January 27, 2005, the Pima County Superior Court jury found David Augustine Higdon, 22, guilty of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the assault of Phillip A. Walsted, a 24-year-old gay man. Walsted died at a hospital after he was brutally beaten with a baseball bat near his home in June 2002.

Police found Walsted's eyeglasses and driver's license at Higdon's home, as well as a bloodied baseball bat. The blood was later identified as Walsted's.

In a letter written after the murder, Higdon stated that "I am a warm-blooded killer, no remorse, no regrets. I will kill for my beliefs."

In the two years Higdon has been imprisoned, he has been charged in a white supremacist plot to take over the jail. Higdon also acquired a tattoo of a swastika with two black lightning bolts in the center.

Prosecutor Teresa Godoy told the courtroom that the symbol is given to neo-Nazis who have "killed for the cause." Godoy argued that Higdon's neo-Nazi beliefs contributed to Walsted's death.

In June, Higden was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to the aggravated assault of another inmate.

Higdon faces a maximum sentence of life in prison at his sentencing, which was scheduled for March 2005.

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