WASHINGTON – Jacob Albert Laskey, of Springfield, Ore., was sentenced today to serve 11 years and three months in federal prison for his role in the Oct. 25, 2002, racially-motivated attack on Temple Beth Israel, in Eugene, Ore. The defendant is a self-avowed white supremacist who admitted that he sought to commit acts of violence and destruction against Jews, African-Americans, and members of other ethnic and racial groups, when such opportunities arose. In August 2006, Laskey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights, intentionally damaging religious property, solicitation to murder witnesses, soliciting a bomb threat against the federal courthouse in Eugene, two counts of obstruction of justice, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
“Today’s sentence should provide some measure of solace to the victims, as well as a strong message to those who would commit such heinous crimes born of hatred,” stated Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing the federal laws that prohibit crimes of hate and intolerance, which have no place in our welcoming society.”
“Prosecuting individuals who seek to harm others because of their religion, race or national origin is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and the Department of Justice,” stated United States Attorney Karin Immergut. “We will also aggressively investigate and prosecute those who try to intimidate witnesses from reporting such reprehensible acts to law enforcement.”
According to the plea agreements and statements in court, the defendant conspired with co-defendants Gabriel Doyle Laskey, Gerald Anthony Poundstone, Jesse Lee Baker, and another individual, subsequently determined to be Jereomy Allan Baker, to intimidate Jewish persons at the Temple Beth Israel. The five men traveled to Temple Beth Israel at night in a vehicle driven by Jacob Laskey. They then threw swastika-etched rocks, breaking stained glass windows at the temple, while 80 members of the temple were inside attending a Jewish religious service. After throwing the rocks, the men fled the scene. The defendants acknowledged in court, that their actions violated the victims’ rights to use, hold and occupy religious property free from discrimination. All other co-defendants had previously entered guilty pleas.
Jacob Laskey admitted that following the attack on the synagogue, he obstructed justice by attempting to persuade a witness not to testify against him regarding Laskey’s involvement in the attack. Laskey also admitted soliciting co-conspirator Jesse Baker to kill potential witnesses and to call in a bomb threat to the federal courthouse in Eugene, where the grand jury convened to investigate his case. To prevent Baker from relating information regarding the solicitation to federal investigators, Laskey also admitted to intimidating or attempting to intimidate Baker, between the latter part of 2004 and the early part of 2005.
Regarding the gun charge, Laskey admitted that he had possessed a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and ammunition after having been convicted of two felony crimes, assault in the third degree and racially-motivated battery.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William E. (Bud) Fitzgerald and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Roy Conn III. The case was investigated by Special Agents from the Eugene Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.