Utah White Supremacist Pleads Guilty to Racial Beating

  • January 19, 2006


A white supremacist pleaded guilty to taking part in the racially motivated beating of an African-American man in Salt Lake City.

Keith Wayne Cotter, 25, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on January 11, 2006, to aiding in the assault of an African-American man last spring.  Prosecutors say Cotter and two other men, Robby Wayne Baalman, 22, and David Lance Gardner, 43, were driving around Salt Lake City when they spotted the victim riding his bicycle. The three men allegedly knocked the man off his bike, beat him and then struck him with a beer bottle.  The victim was hospitalized and later released.

Baalman pleaded guilty in December to a reduced count.  Gardner pleaded not guilty and is still awaiting trial.

In his plea hearing, Baalman said Gardner encouraged him and Cotter to assault the victim as part of an initiation into the American Front, a racist skinhead organization.  A Utah Department of Corrections spokesman said prison records list Cotter as being a suspected white supremacist gang member.

Cotter is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces a maximum ten years sentence.