Feathered Bastard

Don Logan Confronts White Supremacist Daniel Mahon in Federal Court, Judge Denies Mahon Bond

Shackled and dressed in stripes, Daniel Mahon avoided Don Logan's eyes in federal court today as the man Mahon's accused of targeting with a mail bomb spoke to the court, looking over his shoulder from time to time at the defendant as he addressed Judge David Campbell from a lectern.

"We've waited five years for this day," Logan said during a hearing to determine if Mahon was to be granted bond or not, adding, "I was very surprised that a cash bond was granted by the Illinois magistrate."

Logan, former Director of Scottsdale's Office of Diversity and Dialogue, was seriously injured in 2004 along with two co-workers when a package addressed to him exploded as he opened it. This June, twin white supremacist brothers Daniel and Dennis Mahon were arrested in Illinois and charged in the incident.

An Illinois judge found that Daniel Mahon, who faces just one conspiracy charge, did not pose a threat to the community. Mahon, 59, was granted a $50,000 bond, but the U.S. Attorney appealed that bond decision. After the hearing this morning where Logan spoke, Judge Campbell reversed the decision of the Illinois judge, and found the defendant to be both a flight risk and a danger to the community.

"No conditions of release would reasonably ensure the safety of the community," wrote Campbell in his order, which you can read in its entirety, here

(As an indication of the importance of the hearing to the local civil rights community, the Rev. Oscar Tillman, President of the local NAACP, and Bill Straus, regional director of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, were each present to observe the proceedings.)

Both Mahons are charged with conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives. Dennis Mahon is also charged with malicious damage by means of explosives, and distribution of information as related to explosives.

During the hearing, Logan told the court he's convinced that if Daniel Mahon is released, he would have to deal daily with "the thought I would have to look over my shoulder, that my wife would have to be concerned about my safety." He also suggested that by targeting him because of his race (Logan is African-American), what the Mahon brothers have allegedly done rises to the level of a hate crime.

"It's pretty clear they are white supremacists," stated Logan at one point.

Outside the court, Logan told me that he had retained his own counsel because of his questions concerning how the Mahon brothers have been charged.

"They've offered explanations," Logan said of the U.S. Attorney's office. "But not being an attorney, I don't know that I understand them."

Indeed, during his oral argument before the judge requesting that the bond offer for Daniel Mahon be rescinded, assistant U.S. Attorney John Boyle spoke of the firearms and bomb-making equipment found at the Mahons' residence, inflammatory statements made by both Mahons while they were being wiretapped, and the threat of a possible shootout when they were taken into custody.

At one point, Boyle asserted that, "This is about the attempted murder of Donald Logan." Currently, neither brother is charged with attempted homicide, nor are they being charged with a hate crime.

Asked why more serious charges were not being pursued against the Mahon brothers, Boyle said such issues could be addressed during sentencing. When I asked Boyle about Logan retaining his own attorney to help him find out why more serious charges have not been pursued, he declined to comment.

Both Mahons are alleged to have been affiliated with W.A.R., or White Aryan Resistance, the hate group run by longtime white supremacist Tom Metzger. Dennis Mahon was denied bond in Illinois and is currently jailed in Arizona awaiting trial.

His brother Daniel Mahon's appointed attorney Barbara Hull insisted in court that Daniel is being accused of misdeeds actually alleged of his brother Dennis, and that firearms that supposedly belonged to Daniel Mahon were "antiques." Boyle contested both assertions during his rebuttal.

Daniel Mahon's son, who lives in Chandler, was in court, and Hull pointed to his presence to indicate that Mahon had ties to the community. However, this ultimately was less convincing of an argument than those presented by the U.S. Attorney, or the powerful statement offered by Logan.

"I did my part as a man to look [Mahon] in the eye," said Logan, exiting the federal courthouse, "but he continued to hang his head down."

NOTE: I changed the wording above from saying that both Mahons are alleged to have been "members of W.A.R." to stating that they are alleged to have been "affiliated with W.A.R." The indictment states that the object of the brothers' conspiracy was to "promote racial discord on behalf of the White Aryan Resistance." It also alleges that Dennis Mahon, using his brother Daniel's phone, called Scottsdale's Office of Diversity and Dialogue several months before the bombing, stating that, "the White Aryan Resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There's a few white people who are standing up."

In exhibits presented as part of the appeal of Daniel Mahon's release on bond, there were photos of firearms and other evidence seized from the Mahon residence. These included W.A.R. videos and literature. 

W.A.R.-leader Metzger was in contact with Dennis Mahon, as is evidenced by Metzger's own statements, made on his call-in hotline.

The sworn affidavit of an ATF agent, which is also on file with the court, attests to the pair's affiliation with W.A.R. This states, in part:

"For the past 20 years, the Mahon brothers have been closely associated with the white supremacist group known as the `White Aryan Resistance' (`WAR'), which recently became known as `The Insurgent,' and its leader, Tom Metzger. WAR/The Insurgent,like many other racist groups, does not appear to have an official roster or published hierarchy...WAR advocates the use of `Lone Wolf' style tactics that encourage individuals to commit violent acts independently on behalf of the movement to avoid exposing the overall group. On September 26, 2003, five months prior to the Logan bombing, Dennis Mahon called the Scottsdale Office of Diversity and Dialogue, claimed to be with WAR, and left a threatening message."    

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons