Illinois prisoners face murder, hate-crime charges for killing Jewish inmate



Two prison inmates in Illinois who are members of a white supremacist group were indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday for beating a Jewish inmate to death.

Brandon “Whitey” Simonson, 37, and Kristopher “No Luck” Martin, 39, were each charged with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder, a hate crime and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in connection to the death of fellow inmate Matthew Phillips, 31.

Both men, who are incarcerated at Thompson Penitentiary in Illinois, were part of a group called the Valhalla Bound Skinheads.

On March 2, 2020, they conspired to assault Phillips because he was Jewish, according to the indictment in the U.S. District Court in Rockford, Ill. Martin and Simonson repeatedly struck Phillips in the upper body, face and head, and continued to do so even after the victim became defenseless, the charges stated.

“Hatred and violence on the basis of religion have no place in our society,” said John Lausch Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. “We will continue to work with our federal, state and local law-enforcement partners to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

Phillips was imprisoned for distributing heroin and money laundering.

Simonson and Martin face life in prison for the conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder and hate-crime charges, while the maximum sentence for the assault charge is 10 years. Arraignments have not been scheduled yet.