White supremacist Michael Edward Smith was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal weapons and hate crime charges by the U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 17, 2004.
Smith was arrested in January 2002 after a motorist observed Smith pointing an assault rifle at a Nashville synagogue and alerted police. Smith, who led authorities on a brief chase before surrendering, later directed police to a large cache of buried weapons, including hand grenades, pipe bombs and armor-piercing ammunition. Other explosives and hate literature were also found in Smith's home.
Smith, who pleaded guilty to four weapons charges on May 19, 2003, admitted that he had connections to the neo-Nazi National Alliance and to the Ku Klux Klan. A search of Smith's computer records showed that he had conducted research on Jewish institutions in Nashville and Atlanta.
Smith's prison term was lengthened by Judge William Haynes because the weapons violations took place in the context of a hate crime.