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Suspects Admitted Bombings, Papers Say

September 08, 1993|JIM NEWTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOS ANGELES — Christopher David Fisher, who is accused of leading a group of violent young racists bent on igniting a race war, told authorities after he was arrested that he participated in three bomb attacks, including an attempted bombing of an Orange County synagogue, government documents filed Tuesday reveal.

A second suspected member of the group, known as the Fourth Reich Skinheads, confessed to involvement in yet another bombing. That suspect, a juvenile, told authorities that he and Fisher were involved in a pipe bomb attack on a member of the Spur Posse, a group of Lakewood youths whose members boasted of their sexual conquests.

Meanwhile, two other suspects, Geremy C. von Rineman and Jill Scarborough, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana to possession of a sawed-off shotgun. An Oct. 26 trial date was set in federal court. Both lived in Fullerton at the time FBI informants began to infiltrate white supremacy hate groups and befriended the couple.

Josh Daniel Lee of Costa Mesa pleaded not guilty last month to possession of an illegal weapon. His trial is set for Oct. 5.

No one was hurt in any of the bombings.

In Fisher's case, the government documents were filed Tuesday in response to a motion by Fisher's lawyer to have the case against her client dismissed. They represent the first public disclosure that any of the alleged skinheads have admitted to participation in violent acts, and they set the stage for trial in the highly publicized case.

Admitting prior involvement in violent acts could hurt the defendants' argument that they were entrapped by an overzealous FBI agent and undercover informant, legal analysts agreed.

"Assuming that everything was correct with the (advisement of rights), I think this would go a long way toward showing a prior pattern of behavior," said Robert Pugsley, a law professor at Southwestern University School of Law. "If you can show that a person was predisposed, that counters the argument that they were entrapped."

Although the government motion filed Tuesday is addressed mainly to a narrow legal question regarding the federal government's jurisdiction in the case, prosecutors open their motion with a 12-page statement of facts in the case.

It is the statement that reveals new information about the government's case. It says both Fisher and the juvenile suspect spoke to authorities after being advised of their rights. The juvenile was accompanied by his parents when he admitted his involvement in the pipe bomb attack, the documents say.

"After signing an advisement of rights form, Fisher admitted to participation in the July 6, 1993, attempted firebombing of (a) Paramount residence," according to the government motion, which is dated Sept. 7 and signed by Assistant U.S. Atty. Marc R. Greenberg. "Fisher also admitted to the pipe bombing of the same house which occurred in 1992. Further, Fisher acknowledged that he had tried to firebomb the Temple Beth David."

Although Fisher denied participation in any other bombings, the juvenile suspect said that he and Fisher acted as lookouts during a pipe bomb attack on the Lakewood home of a member of the Spur Posse. According to the prosecution motion, the Paramount house apparently was chosen because it was owned by a black man, while the Spur Posse member allegedly was picked because he is part Mexican and part Asian.

"In response to inquiry about the 'Spur Posse' bombing, Juvenile 1 stated that he and Chris Fisher acted as lookouts while a third person placed a bomb on the porch," the document states. "Juvenile 1 said that he couldn't see the third person place the bomb but he did hear the explosion."

Fisher's lawyer, Anna Ho, was not available for comment. She has previously said that she expects to argue that her client was entrapped by federal authorities, who she has said improperly coaxed impressionable young people to commit acts of violence.

Ho has said that her client did speak to authorities after his arrest. She has declined to comment on what transpired, however, citing her attorney-client relationship with Fisher.

In addition to recounting the alleged statements by Fisher and the juvenile, the documents offer fresh details of what authorities say was a plan to bomb the home of an Orange County rabbi, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church and several Jewish cemeteries. Members of the Fourth Reich Skinheads had drafted a list of their targets and were planning their first attack for a weekend in mid-July, the prosecution motion alleges.

The prosecution document states that on July 8, an undercover FBI agent met with Fisher at Fisher's house and that Fisher showed him a list of names, addresses and phone numbers. They included the home address of a Westminster rabbi, as well as addresses for the First AME Church, several Jewish cemeteries and PepsiCo, which the skinheads allegedly targeted because of its support for Black History Month.

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