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May 23, 2012

The Diversity Officer & The White Supremacist: Anatomy of a Hate Crime

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Written by: Kelly Virella
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Daniel & Dennis Mahon, left to right, were charged with the bombing. Daniel was acquitted. Dennis was convicted an sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday.


n February 26, 2004, Don Logan was working in his Scottsdale, Arizona office, for the city of Scottsdale, when he received a package. Unbeknownst to him, the cardboard box was from one of his mortal enemies. Logan, an African-American man, was the director of diversity for the city of Scottsdale. And an Arizona white supremacist affiliated with a group called White Aryan Resistance had targeted him for attack. When Logan opened the box, it exploded in his hands. The lights went out, smoke filled the room, and debris fell from the ceiling, the Associated Press reported.  The package contained a 1-inch-by-5-inch pipe bomb, the Arizona Republic reported.

Logan survived the blast, but was badly injured and had be to hospitalized for three days. Doctors contemplated amputating one of his fingers, but after four surgeries, they were able to remove the shrapnel from his arms and hand, do a skingraft to his forearm and restore some use to his fingers, the Associated Press reported.

Logan didn’t know who his attackers were. But a few months before the bombing, he had received an ominous, angry voice mail message from a male. The message said, according to the Associated Press: “The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale. There’s a few white people who are standing up.” Investigators suspected two Phoenix residents — 61-year-old Dennis Mahon and his identical twin brother Daniel Mahon — were behind the call and the bomb. They set about building a case against the Mahons and employed an informant to help them do that, a 41-year-old former stripper named Rebecca Williams.

In January, 2005, investigators moved Williams into a trailer park in Catoosa, Oklahoma, where the Mahons had moved. Within minutes of her arrival and her hanging of a confederate flag in her window, the Mahons approached her. Pretending to be a white supremacist and wearing revealing clothing, she gained their trust.

Before long, Dennis Mahon indicated to Williams that he had bombed a diversity officer. When she asked him if any of his bombs had  ever worked, he said, “Yeah, diversity officer.” Surveillance video also showed the Mahons referring to Logan with racial slurs. In 2009, federal officials arrested the Mahons. Dennis was charged with four crimes: hate crime, conspiracy to damage buildings and property by means of explosives; malicious damage of a building by means of explosives; and distribution of information related to explosives. Daniel was charged with conspiracy to damage buildings and property.

Daniel Mahon was acquitted of his charge. But in February Dennis Mahon was convicted of all but the hate crime, exposing him to a 7 to 100 year sentence. Yesterday, a federal judge sentenced him to 40 years. At the sentencing hearing, Dennis Mahon maintained his innocence.

“I didn’t do this crime. I can’t apologize for something I didn’t do,” he said, according to the Arizona Republic.

Logan spoke too. He now works as a diversity officer for the city of Glendale, Arizona. “He didn’t know me; all he hated was what I represented,” he told the Arizona Republic after the sentencing.


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.


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