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KKK leader accused of bomb plot

Abortion clinics target of his wrath, agents say

Friday, February 14, 2003

By Torsten Ove and Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writers

Federal agents yesterday arrested a Washington County Ku Klux Klan leader with links to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, charging him with plotting to bomb an abortion clinic.

David Wayne Hull, 40, of Amwell, a longtime Klansman and adherent of the racist Christian Identity religion, was arrested at his farmhouse yesterday morning and arraigned in U.S. District Court, where a magistrate ordered him held pending a detention hearing this morning.

According to an affidavit, Hull arranged for the purchase of hand grenades in November and told an FBI witness he intended to use them to blow up abortion clinics.

A federal affidavit does not say whether he named the clinics he planned to target.

Hull also gave the informant components for a pipe bomb he built in his basement and indicated he had two other bombs buried on state game lands which he would later bring to Lancaster, where the informant apparently lives.

Hull appeared in shackles yesterday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Ervin Swearingen, who said he would appoint a lawyer to represent him. Hull said he is unemployed, lives on Social Security disability payments and has three children as dependents.

Hull is the self-declared Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which civil rights investigators described as a seven-member unit that grew out of the now-defunct Invisible Empire Klan. Unlike many other Klan leaders in Pennsylvania, Hull avoided public appearances.

"Our Klan is a super-secret Klan," he wrote on his Web site. "All of our activities are shrouded in a mist of secrecy. ... Our officers never speak to the press about anything."

In July, Hull was a guest at the world congress of the Aryan Nations faction led by Charles John Juba of suburban Philadelphia.

Juba and Hull were members of the same Klan faction a decade ago and Hull later invited Juba to his farm in Washington County for a cross-burning ceremony.

A researcher for the Southern Poverty Law Center said yesterday Hull is believed to have tested bombs on his property in Washington County.

"There was a lot of gunfire and explosions heard up on the property," said Joe Roy, an SPLC investigator.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking would not discuss details of the case, but prosecutors did unseal an affidavit supporting the arrest by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers.

According to the affidavit:

A confidential witness recruited by FBI agents in Philadelphia drove to meet Hull at a Washington County truck stop in November to discuss a deal involving hand grenades and pipe bombs.

Over lunch, Hull said he wanted to buy 10 hand grenades, but when he was told they cost $200 each, he said he could only afford to buy five. Hull said he expected delivery in February.

He also said that he had sent two men that day to retrieve two bombs he had buried, and that all of them would meet at his property after lunch.

While driving after lunch, the informant asked Hull what he intended to do with the grenades.

Hull said he was going to blow up abortion clinics. At first, he said he intended only to cause property damage, but when discussing the possibility of people being in the buildings, he said "if they're there, they are killers or a woman killing a fetus; either way, [profanity] 'em."

During the drive, Hull also spoke to a woman by cell phone who said she was trying to acquire blasting caps from miners for him.

After arriving at his home, Hull learned that the men he sent to dig up his bombs had failed to retrieve them.

He then gathered the components to complete one bomb and told the witness how to assemble the pieces. The informant left with the unassembled bomb and some explosive powder, and Hull explained that he would bring the other two bombs to Lancaster "in a week or two."

The informant later turned over the unassembled bomb to FBI agents.

On Jan. 14, the witness received a package in the mail from Hull that contained a fuse the witness had mistakenly left at Hull's house, along with a copy of Hull's "Knight Watch" newsletter.

The March 2001 edition of the newsletter urged readers to write to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh "to tell this great man goodbye and give him a well-deserved pat on the back for a job well done."

Torsten Ove can be reached at tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.

Dennis Roddy can be reached at droddy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1965.

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