Former Neo-Nazi Devon Arthurs Pleads Guilty to 2017 Murders of His 2 Roommates
Devon Arthurs, 24, had intended to use the insanity plea had the murder trial proceeded this week as planned.
Devon Arthurs, a former neo-Nazi, has pleaded guilty to the fatal shootings of his two roommates. The murder trial for the 2017 homicides was set to begin Monday, and Arthurs accepted a plea deal moments before jury selection commenced, according to court records.
Arthurs pleaded guilty to two reduced charges of second-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping and has been sentenced to 45 years in prison, court records showed.
“This defendant committed a cold and calculated crime and for that he will spend the majority of his life in prison," said State Attorney Suzy Lopez in a statement to the Associated Press.
Arthurs, 24, will be 69 years old by the time of his release and will then serve an additional 15 years’ probation, court records stated.
“I’d like to take this moment to tell the world to stay away from extremist groups,” Arthurs said in court after his guilty plea in an apology to those affected. “I’m very sorry for everyone that was involved. I’m very sorry for everything that has happened.”
The family members of his victims, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, witnessed the guilty plea and sentencing via Zoom.
“The victims’ families are satisfied with this outcome which allows them to avoid a painful trial while knowing the defendant will have to dwell upon the pain he has caused for the next several decades behind bars,” Lopez said in a statement.
Arthurs had previously planned to use the insanity plea had the murder trial proceeded following several delays in his case after he was declared incompetent to stand trial twice, and received mental health treatment, the AP reported.
The plea came almost exactly six years after the 2017 killings in the Tampa apartment Arthurs, Himmelman and Oneschuk once shared, according to the Justice Department.
Arthurs said after his arrest that all of them shared neo-Nazi ideologies and were part of a small, mostly online neo-Nazi group, authorities said in a criminal complaint. At some point, however, Arthurs converted to Islam and said his roommates Himmelman and Oneschuk ridiculed him for that belief, authorities said.
In response, Arthurs fatally shot Himmelman and Oneschuk with an assault-style rifle and said in a statement after his arrest, “I prevented the deaths of a lot of people … because they wanted to build a Fourth Reich,” according to the AP.
A search of their apartment revealed a cooler containing explosives, according to the Justice Department.
A fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, was not home at the time of the slayings but pled guilty in September 2017 to federal firearms and explosives charges and served five years in prison, the AP reported.
Russell made headlines in February when he and a co-defendant, nicknamed "neo-Nazi Bonnie and Clyde," were arrested and charged with plotting an attack on Baltimore's power grid. Both have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial in federal court.
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