The Phoenix Police Department has finally issued a press release in the racially-motivated shooting of Kelly Jaeger, a Caucasian woman who was walking late at night in Phoenix's Palma Park when she and her African-American friend Jeffery Wellmaker were reportedly accosted by a bald, white tattooed man.
The man challenged them, asking Wellmaker, "What are you doing with that white woman?"
Later, the man returned, according to Wellmaker, and fired on the pair with a shotgun from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, wounding Wellmaker and killing Jaeger.
As I've reported at length, both in the blog post "Vinlanders Vanquished," and in my Bird column this week, "Skinheads in Stir," two men have been indicted for this heinous act, which the Phoenix PD has now labeled a hate crime: Travis Ricci, 29, and Aaron Schmidt, 28.
Both have pleaded not guilty, and are in Fourth Avenue Jail on three million dollar bonds. PPD spokesman Steve Martos confirmed that Ricci is the alleged shooter in the incident, Schmidt the alleged driver, as I first reported.
The press release does not mention that these men are alleged to be members of the Vinlanders Social Club, one of the most violent racist skinhead organizations in America.
Nor does it mention that the Phoenix PD's Career Criminal Squad deserves much of the credit for scoring these arrests and the arrests of about a dozen more Vinlanders and Vinlanders-associates throughout Arizona.
For instance, the press statement, which I've included below, is slightly off in that it says Ricci was arrested in July. Actually, as I've already reported, he's been in stir since March of this year on other charges. And who's listed as the arresting officer? Well, that individual just happens to be a member of the Career Criminal Squad.
Ditto on the arrest of David Fecke-Stoudt, another reputed Vinlander now in Fourth Avenue under a $150,000 bond, for allegedly threatening a witness in the Jaeger homicide. Moreover the arrests of other alleged Vinlanders were carried out by the CCS.
The press release only mentions homicide detectives. And I know that homicide Detective Paul Dalton was the lead on the Jaeger slaying. I acknowledge the work of all the detectives and other agencies, such as the ATF, which assisted with the investigation.
Still, I initially wondered if perhaps the PPD was trying to rewrite history a little bit. Martos did not wish to comment on the work done by the CCS on the takedown of the Vinlanders, all of which is public record.
However, the limited, circumspect nature of the press release leads me to believe that the Phoenix PD is not commenting on some info because another agency -- likely the FBI -- has an investigation ongoing into the Vinlanders.
As I mentioned in the Bird column, the Phoenix PD was preparing to go forward with a press conference last week, but it was halted at the last minute when, again, "another agency" asked the Phoenix PD to hold off.
This is all well and good, as long as the CCS can continue to do its work and ultimately receive the credit its detectives deserve.
Date: October 3, 2009
Location: 415 East Puget Avenue
Victim: Kelley Ann Jaeger
39 years old
Suspect 1: Ricci, Travis
28 years old
MCSO Booking: P636772
Suspect 2: Schmidt, Aaron
28 years old
MCSO Booking: P695796
This is a homicide case from last year. The following is a recap regarding the incident and an update on recent arrests.
On October 3, 2009, the victim, Kelley Ann Jaeger, was walking in the area of 415 East Puget with a male friend. The two listed suspects drove by the victims and fired shots from their vehicle as they drove by. The incident resulted in the death of Ms. Jaeger.
Detectives from the Phoenix Police Homicide Unit have made two arrests related to this incident. The first suspect, Travis Ricci, was arrested and booked on July 19, 2010.*** He has been charged with First Degree Murder and Attempted Homicide. The second suspect, Aaron Schmidt, was located in Tennessee on September 1, 2010, through information developed by detectives. Aaron Schmidt has been extradited to Arizona and was booked on September 7, 2010 and was also charged with First Degree Murder and Attempted Homicide.
Based on information obtained by Homicide Detectives this case has been charged as a hate crime.
If you have any questions related to this incident, feel free to contact me at the below listed number.
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Sergeant Steve Martos
Phoenix Police Department
***Note: As I mentioned above, Ricci has been in county since March of this year, and was arrested by a CCS detective, not homicide. Also, Ricci is 29 according to court docs. SL.