Hate group member named in killings

Federal officials say Kenneth Hoover, once of Tampa, helped kill homeless men in 1998.

St. Petersburg Times/April 27, 2007
By Michael A. Mohammed

Tampa -- A second man accused of beating two homeless Tampa men to death in 1998 as part of an initiation rite has entered a plea agreement with federal authorities.

Kenneth Hoover, 34 and formerly of Tampa, was arrested and pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to charges of second-degree murder and racketeering. Until Thursday his identity had not been disclosed because of an ongoing investigation, said Steve Cole, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.

Another man, Charles Marovskis, 29, of Pennsylvania, was arrested on identical charges Jan. 31. His name was released soon after the arrest.

According to a Justice Department report, Hoover and Marovskis belonged to Tampa Blood and Honour, a skinhead hate group "whose members espoused the belief that white persons of Aryan descent were the superior race."

Group members agree to participate in a "race war," own guns and train in infantry tactics, and to "demonstrate their loyalty and dedication ... by engaging in acts of violence," the report said.

Authorities say Hoover and Marovskis were among a group of Tampa Blood and Honour members who beat Alfred Williams to death with a tire iron on Sept. 31, 1998.

Then, authorities said, the group used an ax to murder Richard Arsenau in a wooded lot at 320 E Fletcher Ave.

The killers considered Arsenau and Williams inferior because they were homeless, according to prosecutors.

According to his plea agreement, Hoover "agrees to cooperate fully with the United States in the investigation and prosecution of other persons" who helped kill the men.

In exchange, the State Attorney's Office will recommend a reduction in Hoover's sentence. Both Hoover and Marovskis face death or life in prison and $250,000 fine.

"We will not be seeking the death penalty for Hoover because of his cooperation," Cole said. "As far as the other defendant, that's still up in the air."

However his sentencing judge can reject the recommendation. If this occurs, Hoover cannot change his plea to not guilty.

Cole said prosecutors plan to bring charges against others involved in the killings.

"This investigation's still open," he said. "We continue to identify other individuals responsible."

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