Neo-Nazi Gets 7 Years for Threats to Reporters, Activists

SEATTLE -

A Neo-Nazi who helped lead a campaign to threaten journalists and Jewish activists in three states was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in federal prison — the longest prison term handed out to the participants in the conspiracy.

A jury convicted Kaleb Cole in September of five felony counts related to the delivery of Swastika-laden posters to journalists and employees of the Anti-Defamation League in Washington state, Arizona and Florida in early 2020.

Seattle U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour handed down the sentence after hearing from victims who spoke of lingering fear and installing expensive home security systems in response to the threats.

Miri Cypers, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, described picking up toys from her yard before fleeing to a hotel so that Cole and his followers would not know she had a daughter.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown credited the victims for facing Cole in court: “Their courage has resulted in the federal prison sentence imposed today,” he said.

Unlike others sentenced in the case, Cole expressed no remorse, which helped explain why his sentence was more than twice as long as that of the conspiracy’s other leader, Cameron Shea.

At his sentencing, Shea told the court, “I cannot put into words the guilt that I feel about this fear and pain that I caused.”

Cole, most recently of Montgomery, Texas, was a leader of a hate group called Atomwaffen Division. He and four others faced charges including conspiracy, mailing threatening communications and interfering with a federally protected activity.

In 2019, Seattle police obtained an “extreme risk protection order” against him, seizing nine guns from his home.

Cole’s attorney, Christopher Black, insisted that he was not really a leader of the conspiracy, and that the threat campaign was Shea’s idea. He acknowledged that Cole made the posters and offered suggestions in carrying out the effort, but said others charged had done similar work.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods disagreed, saying Cole stood out from the other defendants for his lack of remorse.

“That was his identity, his life’s work to this point: hate, targeting people to instill terror,” Woods said. “And it worked.”

The other two defendants were Johnny Roman Garza, of Queen Creek, Arizona, who was sentenced to 16 months for affixing one of the posters on the bedroom window of a Jewish journalist, and Taylor Parker-Dipeppe, of Spring Hill, Florida, who received no prison time for attempting to deliver a flier but leaving it at the wrong address. Parker-Dipeppe was severely abused by his father and stepfather and the judge found that he had suffered enough.

Reporting by the Associated Press.