Army solider who plotted unit ambush with satanic neo-Nazi cult sentenced to 45 years

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MANHATTAN (CN) — The former U.S. Army private who plotted with a satanic neo-Nazi cult to ambush his unit in a mass-casualty attack was sentenced Friday to 45 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York had charged Ethan Melzer in June 2020 on criminal counts of supporting terrorism and conspiring to murder U.S. service members after Melzer had sent an encrypted message to a neo-Nazi, Satanist organization — just as his Army unit planned to deploy to Turkey — with sensitive information about his unit’s size, weaponry, anticipated travel routes and defensive capabilities.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods on Friday referred to the group that Melzer had messaged, the Order of the Nine Angles, “repugnant.” Finding no reason to deviate from the maximum possible sentence, Woods ordered the 24-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, to three consecutive sentences of 20 years, 15 years and 10 years on the three counts to which he had pleaded guilty last June, totaling 45 years in prison, followed by nine years of supervised release.

“This was not a lark,” the Obama-appointed Woods continued after announcing the imposition of the maximum prison sentence of 45 years. “His crimes were committed to destroy civilization.”

“I do not trust him,” the judge said, stating clearly his concerns that Melzer has not actually moved on from the group’s hateful ideology or would not commit another crime.

“I frankly do not believe him,” Judge Woods said, noting that Melzer had concealed his violent, pro-jihadist beliefs from the Army and effectively deceived the three dozen comrades in his platoon.

“He could have logged off at any time,” the judge remarked, noting that Melzer memorialized his commitment to the white nationalist, neo-Nazi group with a tattoo of the so-called chaos symbol affiliated with the cult’s accelerationist worldview.

The black, cross-shaped tattoo of a star with pointed arrows was visible on Melzer’s left forearm at the sentencing hearing, not covered up by the short sleeves of his tan prison jumpsuit.

According to prosecutors’ sentencing brief, Melzer got the tattoo — “symbolizing ‘chaos’ a concept consistent with O9A’s mission of destroying existing Western civilization to give way to Satanic forces and unrestrained violence” — between the time he enlistmed and reported for duty.

“The defendant sought to end American lives and America itself,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Hellman said at the sentencing hearing.

The prosecutor called Melzer’s plot “one of the most stunning betrayals from within the ranks of the armed forces … ever to be prosecuted in federal court.”

Melzer was spared a potential sentence of life in prison when he pleaded guilty last year to three of the eight counts brought by federal prosecutors.

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1 comment

  1. The synergy between online cults, hate groups and extremists is growing and becoming an increasingly dangerous threat to public safety by further indoctrinating and radicalizing people remotely.

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