Racist Skinheads Charged in Oregon Temple Attack

  • September 2, 2005

Three racist skinheads have been charged for their role in attacking Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon, three years ago; one of the defendants is also charged with solicitation to kill potential witnesses. 

Jacob Albert Laskey, 25, his brother Gabriel Doyle Laskey, 20, and Gerald Anthony Poundstone, 27, are all charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights for shattering windows at the temple, which at the time was conducting religious services for 80 people, by hurling rocks with swastikas etched on their surface, according to an indictment unsealed on August 30, 2005 (two other men are being sought in connection with the October 2002 incident).   

Jacob Laskey is also charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly intimidating witnesses, three counts of solicitation to kill potential witnesses, solicitation to communicate a bomb threat and obstruct a federal investigation and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Poundstone faces an additional charge of obstruction of justice related to the intimidation of a witness. 

All three men are connected to the Oregon-based neo-Nazi group Volksfront, one of the most active white supremacist groups on the West Coast.  Jacob Laskey, who served as the prisoner affairs coordinator for the group, was part of the contingent representing Volksfront at Aryan Nations World Congress during the summer of 2003 in north Idaho, and helped organize Volksfront's Aryan Fest in Arizona in 2004. Gabriel Laskey and Andrew Poundstone attended Volksfront's 10-year anniversary party in October 2004 near Portland. 

Temple Beth Israel was previously targeted by a racist skinhead in 1994.  At that time, Chris Lord, who also has ties to Volksfront as well as to the neo-Nazi American Front, fired 10 rounds of armor-piercing bullets into the temple's facade.  Lord was later convicted on various charges including first degree intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon.

Two of the three co-defendants in the most recent attack have a criminal history.  In December 2000, Laskey and two other racist skinheads attacked an African-American in Jacksonville, Florida, during Hammerfest, a racist rock concert hosted by the Hammerskin Nation.  Laskey and the two others were each convicted of a felony hate crime; Laskey received probation for that crime. Gerald Poundstone served a 6 month jail term for second degree burglary in 2001 in Lane County, Oregon.

Other Volksfront followers have been involved in a number of other violent crimes, including the brutal killing of a homeless man in Tacoma, Washington, in 2003.