Shawn Winkler of Aryan Nations Convicted

Associated Press/April 29, 2004

Coeur D'Alene, Idaho -- A former staff member of Richard Butler's white supremacist Aryan Nations organization erupted in anger after a jury found him guilty of battery and injuring a child, forcing police to subdue and arrest him in a courtroom.

Shaun Winkler, 24, now faces the additional charges of felony battery on a police officer and resisting arrest following his outburst Wednesday evening.

A Kootenai County jury returned with its verdict after four hours of deliberation, finding Winkler guilty of three out of four charges stemming from his confrontation with Michael Teague, another Aryan leader, and his family two years ago.

Magistrate Eugene Marano excused the jury after the reading of the verdict and had left the bench when Winkler began fighting with a bailiff and police officers.

Witnesses said Winkler tried to spit at Teague, and also struck a police officer.

Marano ordered Winkler into custody until his sentencing Thursday.

Winkler could be sentenced to a year in jail on each of the two child injury counts and six months on the battery conviction.

He was acquitted on one charge of assaulting Teague's wife, but found guilty of battery on Teague and injury on two of Teague's daughters, who were caught in pepper spray vapor released by Winkler in the May 25, 2002, altercation.

The argument started with a disagreement over how to divide some guns and body armor.

Teague told police he was with his family at a convenience store. Witnesses said Winkler was at the pumps filling a gas can when Teague arrived.

Teague said Winkler doused him with pepper spray and some of the chemical landed inside the open passenger side window of his car, coating Teague's wife and daughters.

Winkler claimed he released the chemical spray at Teague because he believed his life was in danger.

Butler, 86, testified Wednesday on behalf of Winkler, calling Teague "a person with a bad temper prone to anger."

The Aryan Nations has been mostly irrelevant since Butler lost his 20-acre compound near Hayden Lake to bankruptcy in 2000, which came as a result of a $6.3 million civil judgment against him for allowing security guards to assault two Bonner County residents.

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