White Supremacist Changes Plea to Guilty

White Supremacist Changes Plea to Guilty

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Gene Kennedy Reporting"The indictment accuses him of attempting to commit murder, trying to murder the man in the holding cell with him."

White supremacist Lance Vanderstappen originally said he was "not guilty" of that charge. This morning he changes his plea in federal court. The court watched as Vanderstappen signed a "guilty" plea admitting to attempted murder.

He admitted back in July, at his federal court appearance, he intended to murder a Hispanic inmate who was in the holding cell with him. That he smuggled a shank inside his body, with every intention of killing the man.

Vanderstappen did not tell the judge why. Authorities believe he targeted the other inmate because of his race.

Meanwhile, our first question for the prosecuting attorney, why would Vanderstappen change his plea to "guilty."

Felice Viti, U.S. Attorney: "The evidence was very strong. We have the incident on videotape, maybe that went into his decision-making process."

Plus prosecutors said they would subpoena the victim to testify against the white supremacist if it went to trial.

In the end, prosecutors cut a deal with Vanderstappen. That if he pleads guilty to the attempted murder charge, prior sentences for other assault convictions could be dropped, could be.

Vanderstappen still has to serve just over five years in prison for stabbing a different inmate back in 2001. That would run consecutively with a new sentence from today's "guilty" plea. The state is asking for the maximum, 20 years. Under the deal, the Board of Pardons will consider dropping previous sentences for other assault convictions.

Vanderstappen is a member of a white supremacist gang called the "Society of the Aryan Culture." He'll now go from being a state prisoner to a federal prisoner.

Felice Viti, U.S. Attorney: "I hope we've gotten the individuals of this gang or most of them out of the state of Utah and into the various federal prisons so they don't have the opportunity to be with one another."

Say the Board of Pardons decides they don't want to drop Vanderstappen's previous sentences for assault convictions. Under this deal, he has the right to withdraw his guilty plea. We'll know more September 27th when Vanderstappen is scheduled to be sentenced.

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