FBI charged racist for setting fire to black family's home - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

FBI charged racist for setting fire to black family's home, pleads innocent

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A self-avowed white supremacist will be represented — at least for now — by a black attorney as he faces charges he tried to burn his neighbors — a black family with eight children — out of their Joliet home in 2007.

During a hearing in federal court in Chicago Thursday, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert appointed Federal Defender MiAngel Cody to represent Brian James Moudry, who was arrested by FBI agents on federal arson and civil rights charges, accused of setting fire to the home. No one was injured in the June 2007 fire, but eight children and an adult were inside at the time, according to a federal indictment.

Moudry, 35, of the 300 block of South Reed Street, appeared in court wearing an orange jumpsuit, the words "Blue eyed devil" tattooed large across the back of his shaved head.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges. Gilbert ordered him held without bail, after prosecutors called him a danger to the community and a flight risk.

An ex-con who previously served time for a hate crime, Moudry was charged Wednesday with one count each of arson, using fire to interfere with housing rights on the basis of race and using fire to commit another felony in a three-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed after his arrest.

According to the indictment, Moudry set fire to a house in the 300 block of South Reed Street on June 17, 2007. The family moved after the fire.

Moudry, who lived just doors away from the fire, has not been a stranger to controversy. Moudry has a pending weapons case in Will County Circuit Court; he pleaded innocent in April to carrying a firearm and was supposed to return before Judge Marzell Richardson on Tuesday, according to the docket.

In 2005, he was interviewed on www.rockmetalbands.com about a Hatemonger Warzine, which he edited and self-published at that time. Calling himself the editor "Rev. Brian ‘Warhead von Jewgrinder' Moudry," he wrote that he was half Irish, half Czech and had been involved in the White Power movement since he was about 17 or 18.

In the same interview he claimed to be a "reverend and state leader for Illinois" for "The Creativity Movement, formerly known as World Church of the Creator," the white supremacist group led by Matt Hale.

Hale — the self-proclaimed Pontifex Maximus of the hate group — is serving a 40-year prison sentence after being convicted of asking a follower in 2002 to murder U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow after she upheld the appeals court ruling in a civil case tied to Hale's group. The follower was really an informant working for the FBI.

In 2005, FBI agents interviewed Moudry after the grisly slaying of Lefkow's husband and mother in Chicago. Those slayings ended up being the work of a disgruntled man who had appeared in Lefkow's courtroom on another matter unrelated to Hale and his followers, authorities said.

Moudry spent time in jail after a 1999 arrest in New Lenox on aggravated assault and hate crime charges, accused of fighting with two black men. Court records show he was convicted of the hate crime and was sentenced to about three months in jail and another two years' probation.

Moudry has led white power demonstrations in recent years. His house was hit by drive-by gunfire after a 2004 rally.

In 2010, he threatened to blow up the truck of a black mail carrier, upset his mail had been stopped.

In the aftermath of the 2007 fire, a 29-year-old Des Plaines man was charged with arson in Will County Circuit Court. That man's case was set to have a jury trial on March 10, 2008, but prosecutors dropped the charges that day.

John M. Kogut, who represented that man, said his client had attended a party at Moudry's home the night before. Police found him passed out on the Reed Street property, 304 S. Reed St., and took him to the alley, Kogut said. There, a girl about 12 years old who'd been awake on her computer that night identified him, Kogut said, though his clothing didn't match her initial description.

At the time, he was 6 feet tall and weighed 180 pounds, according to his court file; his hair was listed as blond, his eyes blue. Court records from 2008 listed Moudry as 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. His eyes were blue, his hair brown, according to his file.

"The girl identified him, it was a very bad identification," Kogut said. "They didn't have a case."

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