On Nov. 13, 1988, three white youths brutally murdered a 28-year-old Ethiopian immigrant named Mulugeta Seraw on a dark street in Portland, Ore. Seraw was returning home from a party with two companions, who also were beaten by his assailants. The attackers were affiliated with a local skinhead group, East Side White Pride. Kyle Brewster, 19, a heavily tattooed former high school homecoming king, pummeled Seraw while one or more skinhead girls screamed "Kill him, kill him!" from the sidelines. Kenneth Mieske, 23, the burly lead singer of a death-metal rock band, blindsided Seraw with a baseball bat. Steve Strasser, 20, drove his steel-toed boots into Seraw's crumpled body as he tried to crawl away. Mieske then delivered the fatal blow, pulverizing Seraw's skull, leaving him prostrate in a pool of blood and vomit.
Community leaders rallied swiftly to denounce racism, condemn the crime and mourn the death of the intelligent, good-natured Seraw. One thousand miles to the south, from his home in Fallbrook, Calif., Tom Metz ger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance, heard the news and rejoiced. "Sounds like the skinheads did a civic duty," he announced over his telephone hotline. Seraw's assailants had less to chortle about. Fingered by their fellow skinheads who gave ample -- albeit conflicting -- statements to the police, they were arrested, pleaded guilty without a trial and received stiff minimum sentences ranging from nine to 30 years. Two years after the murder, Metzger, his son John and two of the Portland skinheads were ordered to pay Seraw's estate $12.5 million in damages following a civil suit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Ala., and the Anti-Defamation League on behalf of Seraw's young son.