Marcus Faella, American Front leader, sentenced to 6 months in jail

Orlando Sentinel/November 10, 2014

By Henry Pierson Curtis

Kissimmee -- Marcus Faella, head of the neo-Nazi American Front, was sentenced to six months in jail today for teaching firearms and hand-to-hand combat skills to followers preparing for an anticipated race war.

Circuit Judge Jon Morgan handed down the sentence after describing the white supremacists as the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

So ended the largest domestic terrorism case in Florida.

"We love you, Mark!" one supporter yelled. "Thank you, judge."
lRelated Picture of Marcus Faella

Faella, 41, likely will be released within four months to his rural Bull Creek home in eastern Osceola County. It was there in 2011 that an informant, paid $40,000 by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, infiltrated the group of men and women with swastika tattoos who met to shoot their AK-47s.

The American Front had been incorporated by Faella for the "Religious and cultural preservation of the European peoples," according to state records.

From the first arrests in May 2012, the case was unusual after the FBI claimed it was a state case and local authorities said it was a federal investigation.

Charges against all but four of the 14 defendants were soon dropped without explanation. Many had been held for weeks on unusually high bails of $500,000.

When the sentencing hearing began, Faella's attorney, Ronald L. Ecker II, unsuccessfully asked Morgan to overturn the conviction, arguing that the jury had been swayed by an old political flier and other "evidence that was too prejudicial."

Prosecutor Sarah Hatch said the political flyer showed masked American Front members posing with assault weapons and a Molotov cocktail.

After that, Ecker called a series of Faella's friends and relatives to the stand who described him as a sweet, well-mannered man who held a door for an African-American woman and never spoke ill of any race or religion in their presence, even though some of them knew he'd become a skinhead as a teenager.

"I believe Marcus is a kind, gentle giant with a service heart," said Morris Albritton, a painting contractor who had joined Faella in prayer on a visit to Bull Creek.

Asked about Faella's tattoos, his godfather, Frank Dosio, pulled up his left sleeve to show a Marine Corps tattoo and said, "If I thought for a second he was a terrorist, I'd crush him to death."

After Faella left the courtroom in shackles, American Front members crowded around Ecker asking when they could see Faella. Ecker explained that Faella is not allowed to meet with the group except his wife, Patricia, unless they publicly renounced their American Front ties.

"American Front or Marcus," said member Diane Lambeth, wearing a black Free Marcus Faella t-shirt while she held out her hands as if she were weighing the options. "I'll do it…on Twitter and Facebook."

Before the sentence was announced, Morgan cited Faella's clean criminal record and no accusation of past violence as a consideration. While noting that someone cannot be punished for abhorrent racial views, the American Front's plans to disrupt a socialist demonstration in Melbourne was not as "innocuous" as the defense had claimed.

"This clearly is a difficult case in which to fashion an appropriate sentence," said the judge, a former career prosecutor.

As a felon, Faella will not be allowed to return home unless all the firearms that once belonged to him and his wife are removed. After serving two years of community control with 24-hour electronic monitoring, he will serve 10 years of probation.

Faella intends to ask an appellate court to overturn his conviction, according to Ecker.

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