Klan Member Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime in Missouri

  • April 26, 2004

A white supremacist and reputed member of the Ku Klux Klan, Steven H. Heldenbrand, has pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy charge in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Missouri, for his role in attacking two African-American men at a restaurant in 2001.

Heldenbrand, 26, who also pleaded guilty to a state charge of assault as a hate crime, admitted he was one of five men who beat and stabbed Maurice Wilson at a Denny's restaurant in 2001. The other victim, Kenny Wright, suffered less severe injuries.

Heldenbrand is currently serving time in prison for violating his probation.

Two other co-defendants, Michael Shane McCormick and Mark Thomas Kooms, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month. They are both members of the Springfield-based Midland Hammerskins, a branch of the Hammerskin Nation, reputed to be the most violent and best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead group in the U.S.

The indictment against Heldenbrand, McCormick, Kooms and two other men was handed down on January 26 after a two-and-a-half-year investigation. Heldenbrand pleaded guilty on April 21, 2004.

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