Two more Base defendants sentenced in Rome murder plot

Luke Austin Lane, 23, raises his hand to be sworn in Floyd County District Court Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Lane, described as a ringleader of a local cell of the white supremacist group The Base, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for plotting to kill a Bartow County couple.
Caption
Luke Austin Lane, 23, raises his hand to be sworn in Floyd County District Court Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. Lane, described as a ringleader of a local cell of the white supremacist group The Base, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for plotting to kill a Bartow County couple.

Credit: Chris Joyner

Credit: Chris Joyner

Two more members of a neo-Nazi terror cell based in Floyd County pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to murder a Bartow County couple, with one saying that he was pushed to violence after being discriminated against for his fascist beliefs.

Superior Court Judge John Niedrach sentenced Luke Austin Lane, 23, to 13 years in prison for what the prosecutor described as a cold-blooded plot, hatched in the fall and winter of 2019, to murder the couple based on a belief that they were antifascist activists.

Niedrach sentenced Lane’s co-defendant, 21-year-old Jacob Oliver Kaderli, to serve six years. Both men will get credit for the 22 months they already have served in jail awaiting trial.

The men belonged to a transnational white supremacist group called The Base, which believes it can bring about a race war through random acts of terror. In a rambling statement before sentencing, Lane apologized for his actions, but he also said he was driven to violent behavior after being persecuted for his beliefs.

“I wondered if my only option to make it all stop was to become the terrorist they wanted me to be,” he said.

Niedrach interrupted Lane to ask what beliefs he was talking about.

“National socialism,” Lane said. “Fascism.”

In passing sentence, Niedrach told Lane he was shocked by the statement.

“I’m not sure what, exactly, you intended. Were you trying to make the case that you are a political martyr?” he said. “You talk about your beliefs as a national socialist and a fascist. We fought World War II because of those beliefs.”

Authorities arrested Lane and Kaderli, along with co-defendant Michael John Helterbrand, in January 2020 and charged them with plotting the attack and with belonging to an illegal gang.

What is the Base?

Researchers describe it as a neo-Nazi terror group that tries to leverage violent and disruptive attacks to bring about the destruction of American society and the establishment of a white ethno-state. A regional training camp for The Base was at a rural compound outside Rome, Georgia, federal prosecutors say.

In a separate hearing Wednesday, Helterbrand, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by 20 years supervised probation. Helterbrand earned a longer sentence, in part, because of his crimes after being arrested.

While in the Floyd County jail, he joined a prison gang known as the Ghostface Gangsters and appeared Wednesday in court with a tattoo across his forehead that read “Pale Face.” He pleaded guilty to joining the gang and for taking part in a brutal assault on another prisoner.

ExploreHate group member pleads guilty in Georgia murder plot

In Friday’s hearing, Floyd County Assistant District Attorney Emily Johnson described Lane as the ringleader of the group with “no regard for human life.”

“Luke Lane brought The Base, brought this domestic terrorism, to our town,” she said. “He is the reason that Rome, Ga., and Floyd County got infiltrated by The Base.”

The three men were arrested in January 2020 on evidence gathered by an undercover FBI agent who posed as a member of the group. Almost at the same time, the FBI swept up members of another Base cell in Maryland who were plotting an attack on a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Va., in an effort to spark a broader conflict.

Among those arrested in that investigation was former Canadian Armed Forces Reservist Patrik Mathews, who had spent months hiding out on Lane’s property after fleeing his home in Winnipeg when a local journalist identified him as a Base recruiter.

ExploreFrom February: Ghostface Gangster charged in jail assault also accused of plotting race war

Mathews and a co-defendant pleaded guilty in federal court in Maryland last month, with each receiving nine-year sentences.

Lane, Kaderli and Helterbrand have been held without bond since their arrest, despite repeated attempts by their attorneys to get the court to allow them bond. They were finally scheduled to go on trial later this month before the trio announced they would plead guilty.

Like Helterbrand, Lane was charged with other crimes committed while in jail, including fashioning a homemade knife, which he apparently used to stab and rip a mattress. He also was charged with defacing prison walls by drawing swastikas on them. In Friday’s hearing, Johnson said Lane had acquired a lot of jailhouse tattoos, each with Nazi meanings, and had been recruiting for The Base inside the jail.

Caption
Jacob Oliver Kaderli (left) was sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a foiled murder plot to kill a Bartow County couple. Kaderli and his co-defendants were part of a neo-Nazi terror cell called The Base.

Credit: Chris Joyner

Jacob Oliver Kaderli (left) was sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a foiled murder plot to kill a Bartow County couple. Kaderli and his co-defendants were part of a neo-Nazi terror cell called The Base.
Caption
Jacob Oliver Kaderli (left) was sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a foiled murder plot to kill a Bartow County couple. Kaderli and his co-defendants were part of a neo-Nazi terror cell called The Base.

Credit: Chris Joyner

Credit: Chris Joyner

Kaderli had no additional charges in jail, and Niedrach granted his request to be treated as a first offender. Kaderli was 19 when he was arrested, and he had the least involvement in the plot, even failing to attend the last planning meeting by the group. If he completes his sentence and probation without committing another crime, his record will be wiped clean.

“Your involvement was more limited than the others, and your behavior since you’ve been incarcerated indicates a change or maybe a continuation of how you really are,” the judge said. “You can have a fresh start.”

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