Matthew F. Hale 15177-424

Matthew F. Hale
White supremacist leader; convicted of soliciting the murder of a federal judge.
Prisoner at ADX Florence, the United States supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

See also: ADX Florence

Matthew F. Hale (born July 27, 1971), more commonly called Matt Hale, was the second leader of the white separatist group formerly known as the World Church of the Creator and now known as the Creativity Movement. The organizations headquarters were based in East Peoria, Illinois. In 1998, Hale made headlines when his application for an Illinois law license was denied due to his belief in White Supremacism (described as a "gross deficiency in moral character"). On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison term for soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill federal judge Joan Lefkow. He is currently incarcerated in the Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colorado as Inmate number 15177-424.

Early life

Hale was raised in East Peoria, a community on the Illinois River. According to Hale, by the age of 12, he was reading books about National Socialism such as Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, and had formed a group at school.

In August 1989, Hale entered Bradley University, studying political science. In September 1989, Hale began writing editorials in the college newspaper, the Bradley Scout, espousing his views of White Separatism. A student at Bradley, Robert Bingham, also a political science major, began a debate in the college newspaper editorial about civil rights and the Ku Klux Klan. Upon coming out to give his surname, Matt Hale invited the KKK to the campus of Bradley in the spring of 1990; the same year, he was expelled from Bradley. At the age of 19, Hale burned an Israeli flag at a demonstration and was found guilty of violating an East Peoria ordinance against open burning. The next year, he passed out racist pamphlets to patrons at a shopping mall and was fined for littering. In May 1991, Hale and his brother allegedly threatened three African-Americans with a gun, and he was arrested for mob action. Since he refused to tell police where his brother was, Hale was also charged with felony obstruction of justice; he was convicted of obstruction, but won a reversal on appeal. In 1992, Hale attacked a security guard at a mall and was charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, aggravated battery and carrying a concealed weapon. For this attack, Hale was sentenced to 30 months probation and six months house arrest.

In 1993, Hale graduated from Bradley University and received a degree in political science. In 1996, Hale took over the Church of the Creator, a religious group that worships the white race as the creators of western civilization. The church believes that a "racial holy war" is necessary to attain a "white world" without Jews and non-whites and to this end it encourages its members to "populate the lands of this earth with white people exclusively".

After Hale was appointed "Pontifex Maximus" (supreme leader), he changed the name of the organization to the World Church of the Creator. The name was again changed to the Creativity Movement when a religious group in Oregon (the Church of the Creator) sued Hale's group for trademark infringement. Hale ran the church from an upstairs bedroom at his father's two-story house in East Peoria.

Controversy over law license

Hale graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 1998 and passed the bar in July of that same year. On December 16, 1998, the Illinois Bar Committee on Character and Fitness rejected Hale's application for a license to practice law. Hale appealed, and a hearing was held on April 10, 1999. On June 30, 1999, a Hearing Panel of the Committee refused to certify that Hale had the requisite moral character and fitness to practice law in Illinois.

Two days after Hale was denied a license to practice law, a World Church of the Creator member named Benjamin Smith went on a three-day shooting spree in which he randomly targeted members of racial and ethnic minority groups in Illinois and Indiana. Beginning on July 2, 1999, Smith shot nine Orthodox Jews walking to and from their synagogues in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, killed two people, including former Northwestern University basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong, in Evanston, Illinois, and a 26-year-old Korean graduate student named Won-Joon Yoon who was shot as he was on his way to church in Bloomington, Indiana. Smith wounded nine others before committing suicide on July 4. Mark Potok, director of intelligence for the Southern Poverty Law Center, believes that Smith may have acted in retaliation after Hale's application to practice law was rejected.

After Smith's shooting spree, Hale appeared on television and in newspapers saying, "We do urge hatred. If you love something, you must be willing to hate that which threatens it."[citation needed] He also referred to non-whites as "mud races." According to Hale, America should only be occupied by whites.[citation needed] During a television interview that summer, Hale stated that his church didn't condone violent or illegal activities. Meanwhile, Hale was distributing thousands of copies of the "White Man's Bible," a book which encouraged a war against Jews and "inferior, colored races". In public, Hale claimed to be against violence, but his church's bibles expressed the opposite sentiment: "You have no alibi, no other way out, white man! It's fight or die!"

Hale's reactions to Smith's shooting spree were also recorded by a police informant, and on the tapes Hale supposedly laughs about the murders and imitates the sound of gunfire.

Federal convictions

On January 8, 2003, Hale was arrested, charged with soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill Judge Joan Lefkow, the United States district court judge presiding over his trademark case.

Hale had previously filed a class action lawsuit against Lefkow in late 2002, around which time threats against her life appeared on the white nationalist forum and other websites.[citation needed] Prior to his arrest, Hale denounced Lefkow in a news conference, claiming that she was biased against him (in his trademark case) because she was married to a Jewish man and had grandchildren who were biracial.

On February 28, 2005, Lefkow's mother and husband were murdered at her home on Chicago's North Side. Chicago Police revealed on March 10 that Bart Ross, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case that Lefkow had dismissed, admitted to the murders in a suicide note written before shooting himself during a routine traffic stop in Wisconsin the previous evening.

On April 6, 2005, Hale was sentenced to a 40-year prison term for his conviction for attempting to solicit the murder of Lefkow.

Hale's projected release date is December 6, 2037.

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