With "Blue Eyed Devil" tattooed on the back of his shaved head, avowed white supremacist Brian Moudry claimed to "understand English fluently" as he pleaded not guilty to torching the home of a black family living down the street from him in Joliet.
Moudry, a disciple of incarcerated white power leader Matt Hale, made his first court appearance Thursday morning at the Dirksen Federal Building.
He was arrested Wednesday in Joliet on charges of arson, using fire to interfere with housing rights on the basis of race and using fire to commit another felony.
Moudry, 35, allegedly set fire to the home of a black family as they slept in June 2007. The eight children and one adult escaped the blaze without injury. They have since moved out of Joliet, an official said.
Moudry, who has claimed to be a reverend in a race-based church, has run afoul of the law before in connection with his white supremacist efforts.
In 1999, he was arrested for allegedly using racial slurs to threaten two people in New Lenox. He was charged with aggravated assault and a hate crime.
In July 2010, he was arrested for allegedly menacing his mailman and threatening to plant a bomb in the letter carrier's truck. The postal worker was a black man, police said at the time.
He also has a unlawful use of a weapon case pending in Will County Circuit Court.
In March 2005, federal agents hauled Moudry and some of his associates in for questioning after Hale—the national leader of a racist group to which Moudry belonged—was suspected of ordering the execution-style slayings of Michael Lefkow and Donna Humphrey, husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow.
The killings turned out to be unrelated to Hale, Moudry or their group.
Hale is in prison for plotting to kill Judge Lefkow prior to the murder of her husband and mother. Lefkow had ordered Hale to change the name of his white power organization after he lost a trademark lawsuit.
In the past nine years Moudry organized a series of white power rallies in and around Joliet. His house in Joliet's sleepy Reedswood neighborhood was targeted in a gun attack following a 2004 white power demonstration.
The heavily tattooed Moudry, who in addition to "Blue Eyed Devil" tattoo also sports drawings of horns and the logo of the Nazi SS paramilitary organization on his head, was led into court shackled at his wrists and ankles.
Moudry was represented Friday by MiAngel Cody, a court-appointed federal public defender. In his court appearance, Moudry showed no outward reaction to the fact his attorney is black.
Moudry was the second person charged in the Reed Street blaze. Marcin Golebiowski, 34, of Des Plaines, was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the fire. He was charged with aggravated arson and arson. The charges were dropped nine months later.
Moudry was subpoenaed to testify in Golebiowski's case.
Even though he was the self-proclaimed leader of Joliet's white power movement, none of Moudry's associates have been charged in the alleged arson.
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