Carl Knorr, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood racist prison gang, pleaded guilty to three charges at a federal court in Riverside, California, on July 25, 2008.
Knorr pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, possession of a dangerous weapon in a federal facility, and possession of contraband alcohol in prison. In accordance with the plea arrangement, Knorr will receive 11 ½ years in federal prison at his sentencing in October.
The crimes were committed while Knorr was incarcerated at the maximum security U.S. Penitentiary at Marion in Illinois. Knorr admitted to his role in carrying out a hit allegedly ordered by the Marion leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, David "Big Dave" Sahakian.
The indictment alleged that members of the Aryan Brotherhood "conspired to murder black inmates in the institutions of the Federal Bureau of Prisons."
In May 1999, Knorr grabbed a 37-year-old African-American inmate and held him while another Aryan Brotherhood inmate, Richard McIntosh, allegedly stabbed the man nine times with an improvised blade made from a light fixture. The victim died after his heart was punctured by the blade.
The victim had a previous violent interaction with a white inmate, Scotty Martin, who later confessed to going to Sahakian seeking revenge. That is when authorities say Sahakian ordered Knorr and McIntosh to attack the victim.
The 2003 capital murder case against the three men held in Benton, Illinois, ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked on the first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges. The jury did convict Sahakian of possessing a knife in prison, adding a five-year sentence to the 15-year sentence he was completing for a prior conviction of felony possession of a firearm.
A new trial against all three men was set to begin in August 2008 in federal court in Riverside. After the government decided not to seek the death penalty against any of the defendants, the indictment against McIntosh was dismissed in the interest of justice, as he already has two life sentences remaining from prior convictions, and Knorr entered his guilty plea just days before trial. Criminal proceedings against Sahakian have begun.