A Skinhead Slayer

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

"Those are most likely the same boots that killed my son," Bailey muses.

Compton was captured in Bakersfield shortly after The John Walsh Show aired. Bailey went into a deep depression in the days following Compton's arrest. Focusing on the anger and the hunt had been a distraction from his grief. "Somehow I thought that when it was all over I'd get my son back," he says. Bailey says one suspect, Justin LaRue, remains at large. Bailey knows where he is, and says that if police don't bring him in soon, he will. Each day LaRue remains at large, Bailey's frustration mounts.

At present, Christopher Whitley and Samuel Compton are the only suspects charged, and are awaiting trial on capital murder. Detective Dalton predicts that at least one more arrest is imminent.

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 admits his son would have wanted and expected him to let justice take its course, but he says justice comes in many forms. The legal system alone does not seem enough to quell this father's pain and anger. The possibility of Compton's death is as much on his mind as the reality of his son's. "If I were in his shoes, I would ask that my life be taken in the manner that the victim's family found appropriate. I would ask that for myself so I might cross over with some dignity and honor," Bailey says. "[Compton] should not concern himself so much with his fate in this life. He should worry about what is after, because I will be there." He believes his rage is so intense that it will follow Compton into hell.

And should Compton be released from jail, Bailey will be there as well. "If he ever gets out, it will be a short trip from Madison Street Jail to the morgue. I will Jack Ruby his ass on the steps."

While he once limited his wrath to specific individuals, recent boasting and posturing by skinheads (including that in the New Times article "Local Hero," June 19) has widened the circle. The demons that haunt Bailey's waking and sleeping moments are men and women he's come to know well over the past months. He's stalked them through skinhead circles in Phoenix and around the country. He's spoken with their brothers and sisters, grandparents and high school friends. He says he's watched them from a distance -- and from inches away -- without their knowledge. And he will continue to do so.

"Skinheads' beliefs are based on thoughts and ideas that are outdated," says Bailey, a history and genealogy buff who has traced his ancestry back to pagan times in Britain. "They read Mein Kampf and The Turner Diaries and fill the rest in with guesses. These guys are not true skinheads, they killed a white kid. They're race traitors.

"I see these guys out there giving interviews and supporting each other." As long as they are out there, he says, "I'm not going to stop. That would be an insult to my son." Bailey views skinheads as domestic terrorists, homegrown half-wit versions of al-Qaeda, from which the next Ted Kaczynski or Timothy McVeigh could easily emerge.

In addition to the continued surveillance of individual skinheads, Bailey vows that every time skinheads meet in a public place -- at every picnic or rally -- he and his army of associates will be there to intimidate. "They will be outnumbered, outmanned and outgunned," Bailey threatens.

The point is, for Cole Bailey Sr., this is far from over.

Bailey prepared this eulogy for his son's funeral, although his emotional state prevented him from reading it at the service: "A part of me -- and what was everything -- is gone. I have come undone, and forever I am changed. You are gone, gone from this world, and my soul is ripped open a thousand miles wide. Blood of my blood has spilled away. The sun is setting, and the days of my life seem done. Every passing day a sentence. Every passing day I will count. Let the days weigh upon me like brick on brick. One day the load will break, and I say, hallowed be my name. And by God my name be vengeance. Until my days are done, until they are nothing more, just echoes in the shadows."

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