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Object of Manhunt in Missouri Is Valley Cross-Burning Suspect

April 18, 1985|JACK JONES | Times Staff Writer

Hunted white supremacist David Tate, 22, and three of his associates are among 13 persons whom prosecutors still want to put on trial for a Dec. 3, 1983, San Fernando Valley cross-burning ceremony that at least one deputy Los Angeles city attorney believes was a significant joining of ultra-rightist figures.

Most of those who participated in the burning of three wooden crosses in a Lakeview Terrace backyard did not seem at first to be "committed-type people," Deputy City Atty. Martin Vranicar said Wednesday. But he added:

"It was interesting that it brought together representatives of three separate groups--the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party and this bunch from Idaho" (The Order).

The apparent go-between linking the three rightist groups, Vranicar said, was Randall P. Evans, 29, a former Antelope Valley man who has claimed to be state director of the Aryan Nations, of which The Order is a militant offshoot.

May Be With Tate

It was thought that Evans and Thomas P. Bentley, 57, of Hayden Lake, Ida., another of those alleged to have taken part in the cross-burning here, may have joined Tate in the Ozark wilderness along with Richard Scutari, 27, of Florida.

In addition to the manhunt for Tate as the result of the killing of a Missouri state trooper and the wounding of another officer, the four are among 23 persons indicted Monday by a federal grand jury in Seattle on racketeering charges as the result of an investigation into the neo-Nazi group and the killing of a Jewish radio talk show host in Denver.

Another of those indicted in Seattle was Frank L. Silva, 26, of Los Angeles, who was arrested Monday night in a Benton County, Ark., campground, 50 miles southwest of the roadblock where the two Missouri state officers were shot.

Silva purportedly organized the 1983 cross-burning ceremony that was attended by former Southern California Ku Klux Klan head Tom Metzger and distressed the racially mixed neighborhood.

Misdemeanor Charges Filed

The city attorney's office brought misdemeanor charges including unlawful assembly, inciting to riot and setting unlawful fires against 13 alleged participants, but Los Angeles Municipal Judge Sidney A. Cherniss dismissed the charges last June on grounds that proper cause had not been shown for bringing the defendants to trial.

That did not preclude Cherniss from calling them "yellow-bellies," "slimy," "despicable" and "scummy."

Deputy City Atty. Gregory Wolff said Wednesday that his office has appealed to Superior Court to reinstate the charges. Briefs in the matter are to be filed May 6.

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