At least five murders within the past year and a half in the U.S. have been linked to people reportedly associated with a violent neo-Nazi group.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, three people said that Samuel Woodward (pictured right), the man accused of stabbing Ivy League student Blaze Bernstein 20 times, was a member of the violent neo-Nazi organization, Atomwaffen Division. Blaze, an openly gay University of Pennsylvania student, was home for the holidays in Foothill Ranch, California, when he was killed. Authorities said Blaze may have been trying to sexually pursue Woodward, a friend he attended high school with.
California authorities indicated earlier this month that Woodward could still possibly be charged with a hate crime if enough evidence is found to support the charge. For now, he’s facing one felony count of murder, along with a sentencing enhancement (aggravating factors) of using a knife to commit the crime. A sentencing enhancement will give the judge the right to increase the defendant’s sentencing, should he be proven guilty.
Per its website, Atomwaffen Division is a “Revolutionary National Socialist organization” formed in 2013. According to ProPublica, the organization celebrates infamous criminal “leaders” such as Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler. The group allegedly carries the goal of one day overthrowing the U.S. government through violence.
The Washington Post reports that the Atomwaffen Division become known by the masses last year after Devon Arthurs, 18, allegedly killed Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18 in their shared Walpole, Massachusetts, apartment in May. Arthurs later told police that the victims were his roommates and said they all once shared a ” common neo-Nazi belief.” At some point, Arthurs converted to Islam and decided to allegedly murder his roommates.
Arthurs reportedly said the roommates were planning to bomb a South Florida nuclear power plant. A fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, was accused of manufacturing an explosive, reportedly after threatening to kill people. Russell later admitted to police that he was associated with the “Atom Waffen.”
While Russell pleaded guilty to illegally possessing explosives, Arthurs pleaded not guilty to the murders and is currently undergoing a psychiatric exam.
An Atomwaffen connection was also reportedly associated with a teen boy in Virginia who reportedly killed his girlfriend’s parents in 2017 before turning the gun on himself. On Dec. 22, 17-year-old Nicholas Giamba (pictured center) snuck into the home of 48-year-old Scott Fricker and 43-year-old Buckley Kuhn-Fricker in Reston. When the couple spotted him in their daughter’s bedroom, an argument erupted before the teen reportedly shot the parents then shot himself. He survived the ordeal and is listed in critical condition at an area hospital.
The parents were pushing their daughter to break up with the suspect after learning about his neo-Nazi views on social media. Neighbors reported that a few months before shootings, the teen mowed a large swastika sign into a field near his home. HuffPost later found the teen’s Twitter account, which indicated he shared information from the Atomwaffen Division.
As CrimeOnline reported, residents grouped together to discuss the mowed swastika sign and instead of calling authorities, they decided to send someone over to the teen’s house to talk with his parents. The parents reportedly admitted that their son mowed the hate sign and acknowledged that he was having issues. They claimed they were getting the boy treatment for his issues. With that, the neighbors didn’t phone the police, but it’s a decision that some of them now regret.
The Atomwaffen Division wants people who are not afraid to “get out on the streets” to help push their agenda, which according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), means violence and hatred toward black people, LGBT community, Jewish people, and Muslims.
ADL reports that in 2017, the group released a promotional video in which they said disturbing commands such as “gas the Kikes” and “race war now” as they fired weapons. Although the organization only formed several years ago, it reportedly has cells in numerous states, “including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin.”
[Feature Photo: Samuel Woodward, Devon Arthurs, and Nicholas Giamba/Police Handout, Twitter]