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Couple convicted in plot to spark 'racial holy war'

Saturday, July 27, 2002

BOSTON -- Two white supremacists were found guilty Friday of plotting to blow up Jewish and black landmarks around Boston in what prosecutors said was a scheme to spark a "racial holy war."

A federal jury deliberated seven hours over two days before convicting Leo Felton, the 31-year-old the mixed-race son of civil rights activists, and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Erica Chase.

The two were arrested in April 2001 when an off-duty police officer spotted Chase passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a doughnut shop.

Investigators discovered that Felton was making the phony money to help fund their plan and had already gathered most of the ingredients to make a bomb, including a 50-pound bag of ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer used in the Oklahoma City bombing.

"Their plan was to ignite a racial holy war ... that would promote chaos among the races," prosecutor Emily Schulman told the jury.

The defense maintained the couple were being prosecuted for their beliefs.

The couple were found guilty of conspiring to make a bomb, conspiring to make counterfeit bills, obstruction of justice, conspiring to obstruct justice and firearms violations. Felton was convicted of making counterfeit bills; Chase was acquitted on that charge.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Felton faces a minimum of 35 years behind bars. Chase could have gotten at least eight years if she had been found guilty on all charges.

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