A Skinhead Slayer

Cole Bailey's on a quest to vanquish Valley neo-Nazis who beat his son to death

Bailey called Patrick Bearup, a skinhead, convicted felon, and son of Maricopa County sheriff's candidate Tom Bearup. Patrick had been at the pool hall that evening, and, according to Bailey, "watched Cole die and did nothing." Whitley and Patrick were friends, and "I had a pretty good idea he knew where Whitley was hiding." So did police, Dalton says, but Patrick wasn't talking to the cops. It was a case, Dalton says, of "money talks and bullshit walks."

Bailey pressured Bearup, who quickly remembered the $10,000 reward Bailey had offered on television for information leading to the arrest of his son's killers. Bearup settled for $1,000, in effect selling Whitley to Bailey, and agreed to bring Whitley to a Denny's on Grand Avenue on December 21.

Bailey phoned Dalton, who was out Christmas shopping with his daughter, and Dalton quickly assembled a team of officers to assist with the eventual capture. Law enforcement had the building surrounded.

Skinheads stomped Cole Jr.'s head into the pavement, shattering his skull with steel-toed boots.
Skinheads stomped Cole Jr.'s head into the pavement, shattering his skull with steel-toed boots.
Cole Jr. in happier times before his death.
Cole Jr. in happier times before his death.

Bailey pulled up in the parking lot on his custom bike, a snarling beast of chrome and black flames, his hair shrouded in a knit cap adorned with large skulls. Bailey walked into the restaurant and spotted the pair immediately. Whitley had a cap pulled down concealing the large swastika tattooed on his forehead and was wearing street clothes, whereas Bearup was in full skinhead attire, complete with braces [suspenders] and boots. Then he sat down at a booth where one of the men who'd allegedly kicked the life out of his son was trying to eat a cheeseburger.

As Dalton and other agents staked out the parking lot and nervously watched the conversation inside, to the detective's disdain, someone had called the media. "I'm seeing booms go up. They were gonna go live, there was a news truck that pulled right into the Denny's parking lot." Dalton persuaded them to pull back until the capture.

Bailey had hoped for a confession, but got what he describes as a string of lies. "On my skin I did not kill your son," he says Whitley told him. "It was denial after denial," Bailey says, "and after about half an hour I said, Let's go.' The deal with Bearup was that after the meeting [Whitley] was to be at my will." Bailey signaled to police, and Whitley was jumped by law enforcement at the restaurant's door.

Although Bailey is determined to see all involved in the death of his son brought to justice, it's Compton he blames the most. "I think that some people have a predisposition for evil," Bailey says. "As soon as I saw Compton's picture, I knew, I knew he was the one." There was something about Compton that reminded Bailey of himself, though. "But on the other end of the spectrum," Bailey says. "I would go to any extent for my causes, but my causes are just. His causes are not just. He respects no boundaries."

With Compton, Bailey figured that "when and if I found him, one of us was going to end up dead." Bailey says Compton had spread a rumor aimed at Bailey that he'd sooner commit suicide than be taken by police, but that if Bailey were the one to find him, "he'd honor me with a battle to the death."

"I was almost counting on it," Bailey says. "I would have done to him what he did to my son."

Compton's adoptive mother, Amy, who lives in Virginia, appeared with Bailey on The John Walsh Show, and begged for Compton to turn himself in as her son's mug shot was shown to a national audience. "I had to make them rock stars in order to catch them," says Bailey, who himself has a movie deal in the works. In a letter to Bailey in January, Amy Compton wrote, "We know that it is a virtual certainty that my son Sam participated in this heinous act. Throughout the years of Sam's relentless descent into mental illness, substance abuse, and the skinhead culture, my worst fear has been that serious harm would come to an innocent person. I am devastated that this nightmare has come true.

"I feel compelled to plead with you not to place yourself in danger where Sam is concerned. My own experience is that you will not be able to reason with him if he feels desperate, as he certainly would. Please allow trained officers to confront and apprehend him."

Compton's mother also sent Bailey several letters from her son Samuel. One, written to a former girlfriend while Compton was in prison for assault, outlines a fantasy attack on the girlfriend's new boyfriend that is eerily similar to the events at River City Pockets nine months later. "I don't just hit, I want to bounce heads off of curbs and break teeth and bones. Throw into glass. Put steel toe boots to his face," he writes in careful cursive. "Have you ever seen a person get knocked out? I doubt it. They convulse on the floor and spit froth out of their mouths. I've seen eyeballs come out of heads."

Two months later, as Compton's release date drew near, Compton wrote a furious, ranting letter to his mother, demanding that she send his boots to the prison. "I'm pacing my cell in a rage right now over this. Its [sic] not funny or a game to me. Taking my boots is the ultimate insult to me. God damn mom, you have me so fucking pissed off. SEND ME MY BOOTS! Mom, I am not going to bug you, call or trouble you anymore. I want my goddamn fucking boots. They are my fucking boots, and I fucking want them." The demands and insults go on for three pages.

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