White supremacist sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison

White supremacist sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A white supremacist who had to hoped to become a high school English teacher has been sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for the beating two minority men outside two downtown bars.

Travis D. Massey was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to four years, nine months in prison.

He was one of three men convicted by a federal jury in April on federal hate crime charges. Massey was once in charge of the Salt Lake City unit of the National Alliance, a West Virginia-based white supremacist group.

Prosecutors said Massey helped beat a bartender who was of Mexican descent at a downtown bar on New Year's Eve 2002.

Prosecutors said Massey, Shaun Walker and Eric Egbert were in the O'Shucks bar and shouted racial slurs at several customers and at James Ballesteros, who was the bar's manager. As Ballesteros tried to escort them from the bar, the men pulled Ballesteros outside and beat him to the ground by brutally punching and kicking him.

Massey was also involved with the other two in the beating of an American Indian man outside of Port O'Call in March 2003.

Prosecutors said the group instigated the attacks to frighten minorities.

Benson said Massey's sentencing reflects the serious nature of the offense and should serve as a deterrent for others considering hate crimes.

He called the beating of the American Indian man, who was left unconscious, "shocking and outrageous."

Massey never apologized for his involvement in the attacks.

Before being sentenced, Massey said he only joined the National Alliance to fight illegal immigration and affirmative action.

"I've done my best to be a good person," he said, citing his time serving in the Marines and doing charity work.

Friends and family also sent letters to Judge Dee Benson vouching for his character.

Massey was seeking a secondary-education degree when he was arrested and said that being unable to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher was one of the hardest things about being sent to prison.

After he is released, Massey will be on federal supervised release for three years. During that time he will not be able to have contact with any race-based groups or gangs.

In August, Walker, seen as the leader of the group, was sentenced to seven years, three months in prison and Egbert to three years, six months sentence.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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