|Source: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office|
On March 9, 2012, Maricopa County authorities formally “arrested” Toby Ray Gaspard, a member of the Vinlanders Social Club (VSC), a violent racist skinhead group, for the 2005 murder of another racist skinhead, Cory Simpson. The arrest gave notice that detectives had finally cracked a murder case nearly seven years old.
Simpson, 31 at the time of his murder, had been released from prison nearly a year earlier after serving four years on an armed robbery charge. He was one of the leaders of the Canyon State Skinheads (CSS), a local racist skinhead crew. The skinhead scene in Arizona in 2005 was complicated, thanks to the rise of the VSC and its growth through adopting members of local racist skinhead crews, including members of the Canyon State Skinheads.
On December 24, 2005, Simpson attended a party in Mesa for local racist skinheads, held at Gaspard’s home. Gaspard was also a high-ranking CSS member. The party turned ugly when other skinheads confronted Simpson. One of them repeatedly stabbed Simpson, leaving him bleeding on his front lawn. Simpson’s wife and another racist skinhead, Christopher Gromberg, took Simpson to a hospital, but he had been fatally wounded.
Gaspard became a suspect in the murders. However, witnesses, generally white supremacists who hated the police, were not exactly willing to talk. Some may have also feared retaliation, which turned out to be a justifiable fear in April 2006, when Gromberg was shot to death, execution-style, with two shots to the back of the head (in November 2011, VSC member David Bounds was indicted for the murder of Gromberg).
Mesa and Phoenix police (especially Phoenix’s Career Criminal Squad) did not give up on the case. In 2008, Gaspard was extradited from Oklahoma to Arizona to face questions about the Simpson murder (he would later be convicted on unrelated weapons charges and given a five year prison sentence, insuring his future availability). Finally, in January 2012, an indictment was handed down that charged Gaspard with second-degree murder, assisting a criminal syndicate, and misconduct involving weapons. The formal arrest—a transfer from state prison to the Maricopa County Jail—occurred in March.
ADL assisted Mesa and Phoenix police in the investigation from the day of the murder onwards.