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Travis Ricci Sentenced to Life in 2009 AZ Murder of Kelly Ann Jaeger
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Thread: Travis Ricci Sentenced to Life in 2009 AZ Murder of Kelly Ann Jaeger

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Travis Ricci Sentenced to Life in 2009 AZ Murder of Kelly Ann Jaeger

    WARNING STRONG LANGUAGE


    Kelly Ann Jaeger


    Travis Ricci and Aaron Schmidt


    Neo-Nazi Travis Ricci Just Pulled Two Decades in the Joint, As the Specter of His Death Waits


    Nonchalant menace. That's the aura that oozed from neo-Nazi Travis Ricci as he was led into Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Connie Contes' courtroom for a recent sentencing hearing.

    Powerfully built, with wide shoulders and a reputation for explosive violence, the 29-year-old racist skinhead seemed oblivious to his leg irons and the handcuffs shackling his hands to his waist.

    Gray jailhouse stripes covered most of his tattoos, particularly the swastikas and Nazi lightning bolts on his shoulders.

    But plain on his forearms could be seen Gothic script referring to the SS motto: "Meine Ehre Heisst Treue," or "My Honor Is Loyalty," often found inscribed on vintage Nazi daggers.

    Only those in the know would notice the mustache inked on the middle finger of his left hand, a tattoo common among those in the white supremacist Vinlanders Social Club gang, of which he is a member. When raised to the lips, it approximates the facial hair of Ricci's führer, Adolf Hitler.

    In one photo presented to the court, Ricci, wearing a Ronald Reagan mask, gives a sieg heil with his finger-stache in place. Moronic? Sure. The Vinlanders may be known as one of the most vicious racist gangs in America. But no one's ever accused them of having triple-digit IQs.

    On this day, Ricci will be sentenced to 22 years in the state pen for putting his girlfriend's head into a wall at a party and stabbing the two men who came to her aid. One caught a knife in the hand, the other in the neck.

    Actually, the jury deadlocked on the count involving the knife in the neck, and Ricci eventually will be retried on that charge. But that's the least of his worries, as Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Vince Goddard will be shooting for the death penalty against Ricci for the heinous 2009 murder of Kelly Ann Jaeger.

    Jaeger, a Caucasian, was walking late one October night with Jeffrey Wellmaker, her African-American boyfriend, near Palma Park, in the Sunnyslope area of Phoenix, when they were approached by a muscular, tattooed thug who challenged Wellmaker.

    "Hey, nigger, what are you doing with that white woman?" the man asked.

    Words were exchanged, according to Phoenix Police Department reports, but it did not escalate to a fight. The man left, and Wellmaker and Jaeger kept walking.

    Later, the hooligan caught up with them near Fourth Street and Puget Avenue. He was the passenger in a white four-door sedan. Shotgun blasts rang out, and Jaeger, a mother of two, was hit in the stomach.

    Phoenix cops investigating a suicide nearby responded quickly. They found Wellmaker tearful and distraught, imploring his girlfriend to "wake up." An ambulance rushed Jaeger to nearby John C. Lincoln Hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival.

    Police wavered at calling the murder a hate crime, despite the obvious racial overtones. Initially, PPD investigators thought the shooting was a drug deal gone bad, and the case quickly went cold.

    Prodded by the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona, the PPD's famed Career Criminal Squad took up the case.

    Tasked, in part, with targeting violent street gangs such as the Vinlanders, CCS detectives uncovered a web of neo-Nazi activity surrounding Jaeger's slaying. By September, CCS detectives had arrested more than a dozen Vinlanders and Vinlander associates on various charges, crushing the national organization's Arizona contingent ("Skinheads in Stir," September 30).

    Two of those collared were Travis Ricci and suspected accomplice Aaron Levi Schmidt, an anti-Semite despite the Jewish origins of his first and middle names. Prosecutors allege Ricci pulled the trigger and Schmidt was at the wheel during the drive-by.

    According to court documents, Ricci boasted about the killing and Schmidt and his girlfriend buried the murder weapon in the desert near Tucson. Other Vinlanders visited the homes of those who knew of the incident, which occurred as the skinheads partied at someone's house in Sunnyslope, and warned them not to talk.

    The cops' confidential informants feared for their lives.

    "All of my sources . . . are terrified of the Vinlanders Social Club finding out whom they are or where they are at," one CCS detective wrote in his report.

    They have been terrified for good reason. The VSC, which mostly operates out of the Midwest and Arizona, is one of those racist skinhead groups that other white supremacists regard with dread.

    Savage beatings have been meted out to white-power knuckleheads who offered Vinlanders the smallest slight. One such beat-down occurred because a neo-Nazi did not promptly flip the Hitler salute with his peers.

    But true to their ideology, their natural targets are minorities. The County Attorney's Office claims Ricci and Schmidt were after Wellmaker but ended up killing Jaeger.

    As one CCS detective pointed out to Judge Contes at Ricci's sentencing for aggravated assault, Jaeger's homicide is justified in Ricci's eyes because Jaeger was a "race traitor" for being with a black man.

    Incredibly, prosecutor Goddard has revealed in one of his legal filings that while in county awaiting trial, Schmidt practically confessed to involvement in the Jaeger homicide.

    "Schmidt has since admitted his participation in the murder in a letter to his wife," Goddard writes. "Schmidt attempts to further the third-party defense idea that Ricci and Schmidt had retrieved the shotgun and looked for the victim couple because unidentified black men were hitting a white woman."

    Schmidt's lame fantasy of coming to the aid of a distressed (white) damsel sounds like something right out of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. Although Schmidt, like Ricci, is charged with first-degree murder, Goddard has not filed a notice seeking the death penalty against him.

    Let's hope that changes.

    People often ask me whether I'm opposed to the death penalty, assuming that I will answer in the affirmative. And there are plenty of valid arguments against it, usually from do-gooders on the left or the religiously inclined.

    But in the case of someone like Ricci, who has committed one of the most sinister and cowardly acts of hate in this state in recent memory, I'd have no problem with an exterminating angel paying this Nazi scum a visit.

    Assuming he's justly convicted by a jury of his peers, of course.

    Ditto Schmidt, should the death penalty be pursued in his case, and he's likewise found guilty.

    At the sentencing, Goddard sought a maximum sentence of 55 years, telling the court that Ricci could not be rehabilitated, mentioning priors such as a robbery in which Ricci tied up an elderly convenience store clerk and threatened to kill her.

    Goddard also discussed Ricci's National Socialist skin work and how it paralleled his worldview.

    "It's almost an anachronism that we have to [talk] about this now, 60 years after we fought the Nazis," Goddard observed.

    Bill Straus, regional director of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, also spoke to the court, praising the CCS and the County Attorney's Office's work in going after groups such as the Vinlanders. He pointed out that the Vinlanders are in a different league, that they terrorize the entire community, not only minorities.

    No family or friends addressed the court on Ricci's behalf. Ricci asked Contes for mercy, hanging his head in mock shame as the judge handed him 22 years.

    Life imprisonment would be a sweet deal for Ricci. In a prison system effectively run by race-based gangs, his horrific deeds will make him a hero to his fellow racist peckerwoods.

    All the more reason Ricci should be offered the needle, if and when his day comes.

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2011-...death-waits/2/

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    September 30, 2010

    1 Year Later, Murder Suspects Charged

    Phoenix Police are announcing that two men have been charged, nearly one year the hate crime where a 39-year-old woman was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.

    It happened on October 3, 2009. The white victim, Kelley Ann Jaeger, was walking with her boyfriend, a black male.

    Police say two suspects, Travis Ricci and Aaron Schmidt, drove by the victims and fired shots from their vehicle. Jaeger was the only one hit.

    One of the suspects had said, "What are you doing with that white woman," prior to the shooting, according to Phoenix Police Det. James Holmes. "The guy is bald, he's got tattoos, he's making a comment about a white woman and a black man. One could assume that it might have been a hate crime," said Holmes back in October.

    Ricci, 28, was arrested and booked on July 19. He's been charged with first degree murder and attempted homicide.

    Schmidt, 28, was located in Tennessee and has been extradited to Arizona and booked on Sept. 7. He's also been charged with first degree murder and attempted homicide.

    The case has been classified as a hate crime.

    http://www.fox10phoenix.com/story/18...spects-charged
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
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  3. #3
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Fatal attack on interracial couple in Arizona heads to trial

    By Jacques Billeaud
    The Oklahoman

    PHEONIX (AP) — An interracial couple was walking near a Phoenix park when authorities say a shirtless neo-Nazi began angrily yelling a racial slur and harassing the black man in the couple over dating a white woman.


    Authorities say the men exchanged tense words before Travis Ricci rushed back to a home where other white supremacists were partying, grabbed a shotgun and returned in a sedan driven by an associate. Ricci leaned out the car and fired two buckshot blasts, missing the black man — the intended target — and killing his girlfriend, investigators said.


    Lawyers are now picking a jury to decide whether Ricci should be convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the 2009 attack, which prosecutors say was a hate crime. Opening statements are tentatively scheduled for June 6.


    The case has offered several unexpected turns.


    Ricci, whose defense is expected to include an argument that he's not the man he used to be, claims his great-grandfather was a member of the French Resistance killed by Nazis during World War II.


    Authorities are seeking the death penalty, saying 39-year-old Kelly Ann Jaeger's killing was meant to further the interests of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a reputation for violence that was later targeted in a law enforcement crackdown.


    Since prosecutors have called the attack a hate crime, they can seek as many as 11 additional years in prison — above the maximum penalty — if Ricci is convicted of other charges, such as attempted murder, drive-by shooting, aggravated assault and assisting a criminal gang.


    Ricci pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have raised questions about the ability of Jaeger's boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, to identify him as the triggerman. They note that nearly two years after the attack, Wellmaker was jailed in an unrelated case and


    Aaron Levi Schmidt, who authorities say was driving the car used in the shooting, pleaded guilty to murder in Jaeger's death. He is already serving 11 years for assisting a criminal gang. It's unclear if he's been sentenced on the murder conviction.

    Lawyers for Ricci and Schmidt, both now 36, have said their clients weren't members of the Vinlanders.


    Police reports say Ricci told associates before the attack that he saw black men hitting a white woman, though it's unclear if that claim was accurate.


    Rebecca Wilder, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting Ricci, declined to comment on the case. The Phoenix Police Department, which investigated the attack, also declined to comment.


    Prosecutors said in court records that Wellmaker, who was unarmed, was extremely distraught over the attack and tried to help his girlfriend after she was shot. They say Wellmaker didn't provoke the attack and tried unsuccessfully to push Jaeger out of the path of the shotgun blast, according to court records.


    Ricci's attorneys declined to answer questions about the allegations against their client.


    "He is a very sensitive person who cares about people in general," said Jennifer Willmott, one of his lawyers. "He has had a very difficult life."


    Bruce Blumberg, another attorney for Ricci, said his client's team has gotten records that document the arrest and execution of Ricci's great-grandfather during his involvement with the French Resistance. Blumberg said the great-grandfather's experience may be brought up during the trial, though it's unclear what it will be used to demonstrate.


    The attack started brewing after Ricci left his friend's home angry and drunk, making his way into the neighborhood where he eventually noticed Jaeger and Wellmaker, according to a police report.


    Prosecutors say Ricci hurled a racial slur at Wellmaker and yelled, "What are you doing with a white girl?"


    He also told Wellmaker he was going to get "something for him," prosecutors said.


    Sometime later, Jaeger and Wellmaker were near a pay phone when the sedan pulled up. Ricci fired two shells, hitting Jaeger in the stomach from about 10 feet (3 meters) away, prosecutors said.


    Ricci's attorneys have noted Wellmaker was unable to identify Ricci in a photo lineup after the shooting, and he failed to recognize their client in 2011 when the two served time in the same Maricopa County jail pod. Court records filed in Ricci's case didn't specify the charge on which Wellmaker was jailed, and a records check didn't provide a definitive answer to the question.


    Ricci ended up telling Wellmaker he was the person accused of killing his girlfriend, a judge wrote in a pretrial ruling.


    The judge said Wellmaker's identification of the shooter was reliable because he would have been able to identify Ricci independent of the jail encounter. While working with a police artist after the shooting, Wellmaker described a unique tattoo across the attacker's stomach, the judge wrote.


    In an unrelated crime months after Jaeger's shooting death, police say Ricci stabbed two men who tried to stop him from attacking his girlfriend. He is serving a 22-year sentence for assault and weapons misconduct convictions.

    http://newsok.com/fatal-attack-on-in...e/feed/2158220
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Prosecutor: Neo-Nazi charged with murder was driven by hate

    By JACQUES BILLEAUD
    The Associated Press

    PHOENIX - A neo-Nazi motivated by hate killed a white woman during a drive-by shooting because her boyfriend was black, a prosecutor said at the start of a murder trial Wednesday.

    "They left to go hunt down the black man who was with the white woman," prosecutor Ryan Green told jurors during opening statements in the trial of Travis Ricci. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges and could face the death penalty if convicted.

    He said Ricci harassed Kelly Ann Jaeger and her boyfriend in 2009 as the couple walked through a park in Phoenix and angrily yelled racial slurs at Jaeger's boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker.

    The prosecutor said Ricci left the scene to get a shotgun, returned in a sedan driven by an associate and fired two shots at the couple, missing Wellmaker - the intended target - and killing Jaeger.

    The prosecutor said Jaeger's killing was meant to further the interests of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a reputation for violence that was later targeted in a law enforcement crackdown.

    Lawyers for Ricci criticized former Ricci associates who are expected to testify against their client and raised questions about the ability of Wellmaker, who has acknowledged being under the influence of marijuana at the time, to identify Ricci as the triggerman.

    "He couldn't have possibly seen into the window" of the car, said Bruce Blumberg, one of Ricci's attorneys.

    Ricci, whose Nazi tattoos were covered up by a dress shirt, looked stoically at jurors while attorneys made opening statements.

    Since prosecutors have called the attack a hate crime, they can seek as many as 11 additional years in prison - above the maximum penalty - if Ricci is convicted of other charges, such as attempted murder, drive-by shooting, aggravated assault and assisting a criminal gang.

    Aaron Levi Schmidt, who authorities say was driving the car used in the shooting, pleaded guilty to murder in Jaeger's death. He is already serving 11 years for assisting a criminal gang. It's unclear if he's been sentenced on the murder conviction.

    Police reports say Ricci told associates before the attack that he saw black men hitting a white woman, though Green told jurors that that account was false.

    The attack started brewing after Ricci left his friend's home angry and drunk, making his way into the neighborhood where he eventually noticed Jaeger and Wellmaker, according to a police report.

    Prosecutors say Ricci hurled a racial slur at Wellmaker and yelled, "What are you doing with a white girl?"

    He also told Wellmaker he was going to get "something for him," prosecutors have said.

    Sometime later, Jaeger and Wellmaker were near a pay phone when the sedan pulled up. Ricci fired two shells, hitting Jaeger in the stomach from about 10 feet (3 meters) away, prosecutors have said.

    Ricci's attorneys have noted Wellmaker was unable to identify Ricci in a photo lineup after the shooting.

    While working with a police artist after the shooting, Wellmaker described a unique tattoo across the attacker's stomach, a judge wrote earlier in the case. Ricci has a large tattoo across his belly.

    In an unrelated crime months after Jaeger's shooting death, police say Ricci stabbed two men who tried to stop him from attacking his girlfriend. He is serving a 22-year sentence for assault and weapons misconduct convictions.

    http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/ari...driven-by-hate
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    June 22, 2018

    Exclusive: Jeffery Wellmaker Details Murder of White Girlfriend as Neo-Nazi Stands Trial

    By STEPHEN LEMONS
    The Phoenix New Times

    Pain and hurt have carved lines into Jeffery Wellmaker’s face that cannot be erased. And his voice occasionally breaks when he talks about the love of his life, Kelley Ann Jaeger.

    Jaeger was shot down in the early morning hours of October 3, 2009, two days before her 40th birthday. Authorities say her death was a vicious hate crime committed by members of the Vinlanders Social Club, a notorious white supremacist gang known for its extreme violence and affinity for Nazi symbolism.

    Wellmaker gave Phoenix New Times an exclusive interview the eve of his testimony in the ongoing first-degree murder trial of Travis Ricci, which began June 6 in Maricopa County Superior Court and is expected to run for the next several weeks. The Vinlander gang member is charged with killing Jaeger with a 12-gauge shotgun fired from the passenger’s side of a white sedan.

    As the car approached him that night, Wellmaker described how time seemed to slow down.

    He and Jaeger were standing next to a pay phone near the sidewalk at 415 East Puget Avenue, just west of Seventh Street, in the gritty Sunnyslope area of Phoenix. The vehicle passed them, did a U-turn and circled back. Wellmaker knew something was wrong.

    “I said, 'Baby, watch out!,’” he recalled. “I saw fire, and then I saw what looked like flies coming out at me. I felt a punch in my stomach, and then the wind. Everything speeded up, and then she dropped.

    “I said, 'Baby, you hit?’”

    Wellmaker saw that those deadly “flies” had ripped through Jaeger’s torso, and that she was trying to breathe. Distraught, he called 911 from the pay phone.

    Phoenix police found Wellmaker holding Jaeger’s hand, begging her to wake up. He was so upset and reluctant to leave her side that the cops handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a patrol car until he calmed down. Jaeger was transported to John C. Lincoln Medical Center, just a couple of blocks away. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Wellmaker, now 57, is African-American, and Jaeger was white. That shouldn’t matter in our day and age, but it did to the pair’s attackers.

    Earlier that evening, as Wellmaker and Jaeger were walking near Palma Park, at 12th Street and Dunlap Avenue, they were approached by a muscular white male in shorts with his shirt off, who taunted them with racial epithets.

    “Hey, nigger, what are you doing with that white girl?” the man asked.

    Wellmaker turned toward the man, but Jaeger pulled him away.

    “C’mon, baby, let’s go,” Wellmaker remembered her saying.

    The man followed them as they headed toward Seventh Street, yelling things like “spearchucker” and something about “white power.” When Wellmaker looked back at him, his eyes were drawn to a unique tattoo with zig-zag lettering across the man’s stomach.

    He later saw the man hop into another vehicle and leave. About 45 minutes later, the white car came around and dealt death to Jaeger. Wellmaker recognized the shooter as the same man who had followed them from Palma Park.

    Wellmaker was the state’s first witness in Ricci’s trial. At one point, prosecutor Ryan Green asked Wellmaker if he saw Jaeger’s murderer in court.

    “It was that motherfucker right over there,” Wellmaker said angrily, indicating Ricci, seated at the defense table.

    Ricci, who turns 37 in September, faces a possible death sentence if convicted. No wonder he was dressed like a choirboy, in a tie and long-sleeve dress shirt. Though his hair has grown out from his skinhead days, it’s been cut short, with a little flip toward his brow. His expression remained impassive, save when he was kidding around with his defense team once the jury left the room.

    His clothing mostly hides his tattoos. These include a swastika and SS lightning bolts on either side of his neck. He also has the German words Meine Ehre Heisst Treue emblazoned on his forearms in fat, black script – which translates to “My honor is my loyalty.” That was the motto of Hitler’s dreaded Shutzstaffel. On his stomach is the word “Ricci” in a turquoise tint, with jagged lettering.

    The letters across Ricci’s stomach are so stylized that it’s easy to understand why Wellmaker couldn’t make out what they spelled the night of the murder. But less than two weeks later, Wellmaker helped a police sketch artist craft a portrait of his attacker that looks so much like Ricci you’d think Ricci had posed for it, if you didn’t know better.

    During his cross-examination of Wellmaker, Ricci’s defense attorney, Bruce Blumberg, made much of the fact that five months after the shooting, Wellmaker was unable to pick Ricci out of a photo lineup of similar-looking men.

    Yet, Blumberg offered no explanation why the police sketch, created 13 days following the murder, is the spitting image of his client.

    Blumberg delved deep into Wellmaker’s petty criminal career, which includes arrests for shoplifting, disorderly conduct, and drug possession. He also served time in prison for “unlawful means of transportation,” defined in state statute as taking someone’s vehicle “without intent to permanently deprive” its owner of it.

    On the stand, Wellmaker, a homeless veteran who served in the U.S. Army, admitted to dealing crack cocaine to stay alive on the streets. He said that on the night in question, before the confrontation with Ricci, he had sampled some crack he planned on selling later that evening.

    Essentially, Blumberg treated Wellmaker like he was on trial, instead of Ricci. However, Wellmaker’s record pales by comparison to Ricci’s history of violence and white supremacist activity.

    Ricci is currently serving a 22-year sentence for an incident that took place a few months after the Jaeger homicide: He pushed his girlfriend’s head into a wall, and then stabbed two men who tried to intervene – one in the hand, the other in the neck.

    Needless to say, Ricci has failed to find Jesus in stir.

    However, he claims to have found Islam. According to documents obtained from the Arizona Department of Corrections, in 2015 he informed the prison chaplain that he wished to change his religious preference from Asatru, a modern revival of the pagan Norse religion – observed by racists and non-racists alike – to Muslim, averring that he had accepted “Mohamed as my Profit [sic] and Allah as my divine savior.” He also wanted “all dietary rights and religious privileges that belong to the Muslim faith.”

    Before turning Muslim, Ricci mentioned in one note to prison authorities that he required a special vegetarian diet because he was a Seventh Day Adventist.

    Ricci’s “conversion” aside, ADC spokesman Andrew Wilder recently informed me that Ricci is now a suspected member of the Aryan Brotherhood, the much-feared, white supremacist prison gang that’s known for drug trafficking and murder-for-hire.

    When Ricci has court appearances to make, he stays in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office jail system. MCSO has a file on Ricci’s alleged transgressions, which include everything from disobeying orders and making his own hooch to serving a fellow inmate with a beat-down so severe that it landed the man in the hospital.

    Part of Ricci’s file: a December 2017 letter to a neo-Nazi pal on the outside. In it, Ricci seemed to anticipate his own future death sentence, wondering if death-row prisoners are allowed to have computer tablets. He also shared that he didn’t believe in “lucky objects,” but joshed about wanting “an unlucky butt plug to give to the state’s attorney.”

    With that correspondence, Ricci included a joke Christmas card featuring a photocopied image, apparently of himself naked, decorated with SS lightning bolts. When the letter was intercepted by MCSO security, Ricci was written up for being in possession of “gang paraphernalia,” i.e., the card. In a written response to his jailers, Ricci argued that SS bolts were not a gang symbol, but rather referred to “belief systems,” such as “neo-Nazism and white supremacy.”

    It’s a curious rebuttal, one that unintentionally offers an ironic riposte to Ricci’s counsel’s contention that Ricci is a French citizen by blood, and that his grandfather fought in the French resistance during WWII.

    The French government asserts that the former is true, and in 2014, its Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a joint letter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office pleading for Ricci’s life, as the French government opposes the application of the death penalty. Even if the part about Ricci’s grandpa is correct, it simply makes Ricci’s life a greater disappointment than it otherwise would be.

    Interestingly, Wellmaker says that he once encountered Ricci in county jail a couple of years after Jaeger’s murder and played chess with him during a tournament where the races squared off against each other. Ricci’s appearance had so changed, Wellmaker said, that he didn’t recognize him at first.

    But as Wellmaker was getting ready to leave custody, Ricci approached Wellmaker, telling him, “They say I’m the one that shot your girlfriend … but I didn’t do it.”

    Wellmaker told him to pull up his shirt. Ricci did so, and Wellmaker recognized Ricci’s distinctive stomach tattoo.

    “I rushed him,” Wellmaker told me. “But the brothers held me back and told me to go home.”

    The case against Ricci includes several witnesses that put him at a neo-Nazi barbecue taking place at a house nearby Palma Park before Jaeger’s murder. One of them, Ryan Maltba, hosted the event. Maltba, a former white supremacist, recently testified that Ricci left the party at one point, and later returned with a bogus tale about his encounter with a group of black men accosting a white girl.

    Maltba, the founder of a local neo-Nazi gang, the Death’s Head Hooligans, said Ricci grabbed a shotgun with a pistol grip that had been brought to the party by Aaron Levi Schmidt, another Vinlander.

    Schmidt has confessed to being the driver of the white sedan, from which Ricci allegedly fired his fatal blasts. Maltba told the jury that he almost got in the car himself, but his baby-mama and some of the other women at the party talked him out of it.

    Ricci and Schmidt allegedly went gunning for Wellmaker, but ended up taking down Jaeger instead. Schmidt pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 2012 as part of a deal with the state, though the terms of that agreement remain under seal. He is expected to testify against Ricci as a witness for the prosecution.

    Jaeger’s past is still a bit of a mystery. She did about a year in the Arizona Department of Corrections for passing bad checks, and struggled with substance abuse. According to court and prison documents, she was the mother of one daughter and one son, each by different partners. Jaeger listed her religion as Catholic. She also claimed that she was raised in New York state and had three brothers who were police officers with the New York City Police Department.

    My attempts to contact Jaeger’s immediate family have not been successful. Her murder is one of nine attributed to the Arizona contingent of the Vinlanders Social Club, which was effectively dismantled in 2010 by Phoenix Police Department’s Career Criminal Squad, a specialized unit that targeted street gangs, which, sadly, is now defunct. Now-retired CCS detective John Justus led the crackdown on the group.

    In our interview, Wellmaker said Jaeger refused to discuss her family with him, though he remembered one time when she fixated on a little girl outside a supermarket, coming around a corner. The girl turned and hugged a man nearby. Jaeger’s eyes filled with tears and she walked away.

    Wellmaker described Jaeger, jokingly, as a “female extortionist,” who would scam gullible, usually older men into lending her money, which she would then distribute, Robin Hood-style, to other denizens of the street.

    “People who have money, she’s gonna get it and pass it out,” he said. “She’d make sure everybody gets taken care of.”

    Wellmaker remembered how it was she who approached him, Sadie Hawkins-style, about being boyfriend-girlfriend and that he was actually kind of scared of her at first.

    She told him she was fascinated by the intense look on his face when he played chess for money, what he called his “side hustle.” They didn’t have sex for the first two weeks of their relationship, he said, but instead just “lay together.”

    Their existence was transient, from hotel room to hotel room, but Wellmaker said they discussed getting married. He told me that he believes God snatched her up on the day of her death, and that her end was quick and without suffering.

    “I felt like she was an angel,” he said. “So, I think it was a blessing that I got to kick it with an angel, who loved me more than any other person in my life.”

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/...maker-10537512

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    How Prosecutor's Gaffe Gave Neo-Nazi and Accused Killer Travis Ricci a Mistrial

    By STEPHEN LEMONS
    phoenixnewtimes.com

    Justice for the 2009 murder of Kelley Ann Jaeger was further delayed after a fumble by Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Ryan Green handed her accused killer, neo-Nazi Travis Ricci, a mistrial on Wednesday.

    Green was in the middle of questioning one of Ricci’s former fellow skinheads, ex-con William Sherill, during day 24 of Ricci’s trial, when Green asked how Sherill and Ricci ended up rooming together.

    “When he gets out, does he end up living with you?” Green inquired, referring to Ricci.

    In his reply, Sherill stated that he thought Ricci “was out of prison before me.” The remark passed unnoticed by most in the courtroom, save for Ricci’s attorney, Bruce Blumberg, who quickly asked Superior Court Judge Dean Fink if he could approach the bench.

    After a while, Fink sent the jury on its lunch break, and Blumberg moved for a mistrial as Green’s line of questioning exposed a fact that must be kept secret from the jury: Ricci, a former member of the vicious white supremacist street gang, the Vinlanders Social Club, is a convicted felon and has done prison time.

    Indeed, Ricci is currently serving a 22-year sentence for an incident in 2010 where he pushed his girlfriend’s head into a wall and stabbed two male friends who tried to defend her – one in the neck, the other in the hand. Previously, Ricci had done time in prison as the result of a convenience store robbery where he tied up an elderly clerk and threatened to kill her.

    During the trial, the jury had already heard of witnesses encountering Ricci in jail. The jury was also aware that many of Ricci’s onetime associates, fellow skinheads and Vinlanders, are felons and have done prison time.

    And the jury knew that Ricci’s accomplice in the killing of Jaeger, Aaron Levi Schmidt, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for being the driver in the October 2009 drive-by shooting in Phoenix's Sunnyslope neighborhood that targeted Jaeger, a white woman, and her African-American boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker.

    According to Phoenix police reports and court records, Ricci apparently was aiming for Wellmaker, but instead hit Jaeger. The homicide occurred following a random, late-night verbal confrontation between Ricci and Wellmaker, with Ricci calling out, “Hey, nigger, what are you doing with that white woman?”

    Schmidt is currently doing prison time for weapons misconduct and assisting a criminal street gang; i.e., the Vinlanders Social Club, of which he was a member. While handcuffed and dressed in prison orange, Schmidt testified that Ricci fired a short-handle 12-gauge shotgun at the interracial couple, killing Jaeger.

    In other words, it would come as no surprise to the jury that Ricci had a prison record. Green told the judge that he had misspoken in questioning Sherill, and had meant to ask him, “When you get out, does he [Ricci] end up living with you?”

    But defense attorney Blumberg argued that the “bell cannot be un-rung,” and that the jury’s knowledge of a prison record was different than jail time, which in itself does not indicate a conviction.

    Green, however, wanted the judge to remedy the situation by striking his question and Sherill’s answer from the record, and admonishing jury members not to consider the information.

    After deliberating for more than 90 minutes, Fink ruled in favor of a mistrial. He said the mention of Ricci’s prison record was “prejudicial,” and he quoted from court precedent, comparing knowledge of past crimes to “a drop of ink” in a glass of milk. Once introduced, the ink cannot be removed.

    Fink said he took Green at his word that the prosecutor’s mistake was an honest one. Nevertheless, he “did not feel comfortable going forward,” particularly since the county attorney’s office was seeking the death penalty for Ricci.

    The jury was called in and dismissed. Fink then scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, July 18, to discuss the possibility of a retrial.

    Green declined comment while leaving the courtroom. A phone call and an email to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office seeking comment were not immediately returned.

    https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news...trial-10606205

  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Mistrial declared at neo-Nazi’s murder trial in Phoenix

    BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
    KTAR.com

    PHOENIX — A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a neo-Nazi charged with trying to kill a black man and fatally shooting the man’s white girlfriend nearly eight years ago after a dispute in a Phoenix park.

    Superior Court Judge Dean Fink made the decision Wednesday at the trial of Travis Ricci, who is charged with murder in the October 2009 shooting death of 39-year-old Kelly Ann Jaeger.

    The judge declared the mistrial after a witness, in response to a question from a prosecutor, made a reference to Ricci spending time in prison, said Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Ricci.

    Authorities say Ricci intended to shoot Jaeger’s boyfriend, who is black, but instead fired fatal shotgun blasts at Jaeger, who is white. Ricci is accused of angrily yelling racial slurs at Jaeger’s boyfriend and harassing him over dating a white woman in an exchange in a north Phoenix park.

    Prosecutors said Ricci left the scene to get a shotgun, returned in a sedan driven by an associate and fired two shots as Jaeger and her boyfriend stood near a pay phone.

    Jacinto said it’s her understanding that the agency will seek to retry Ricci.

    Bruce Blumberg, one of Ricci’s attorneys, confirmed that a mistrial had been declared, but declined to make further comments.

    Authorities had sought the death penalty, saying Jaeger’s killing was meant to further the interests of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a reputation for violence that was later targeted in a law enforcement crackdown. Prosecutors have called the attack a hate crime.

    Ricci pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have raised questions about the ability of Jaeger’s boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, to identify him as the triggerman. They note that nearly two years after the attack, Wellmaker was jailed in an unrelated case and played chess with Ricci behind bars without recognizing him.

    Aaron Levi Schmidt, who authorities say was driving a car used in the shooting, pleaded guilty to murder in Jaeger’s death.

    Lawyers for Ricci and Schmidt, both now 36, have said their clients weren’t members of the Vinlanders.

    http://ktar.com/story/2139534/mistri...al-in-phoenix/
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  8. #8
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    Retrial for neo-Nazi in 2009 shooting death of Arizona woman in interracial couple

    By Jacques Billeaud
    eu.azcentral.com

    A neo-Nazi charged with shooting at an interracial couple, killing a woman, will be tried again after a judge declared a mistrial because a witness revealed to jurors that the white supremacist had spent time in prison, prosecutors said Wednesday.

    Travis Ricci is charged with murder in the October 2009 shooting death of Kelly Ann Jaeger.

    Authorities say Ricci yelled racial slurs at Jaeger's boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, who is black, while the couple was in a park and harassed him about dating a white woman.

    They said Ricci left to get a shotgun and returned, firing from a car as the couple stood near a pay phone.

    Authorities say Ricci intended to shoot Wellmaker but instead struck Jaeger.

    Ricci's trial ended in a mistrial last week after witness William Sherrill revealed that Ricci had previously spent time in prison; information jurors weren't supposed to know.

    The information was revealed when prosecutor Ryan Green asked Sherrill, "Do you remember when he (Ricci) gets out, does he end up living with you or anyone that you know?" according to a video of the July 11 hearing.

    "I think he was out of prison before me," Sherrill answered.

    The prosecutor later explained he meant to ask whether Ricci was living with Sherrill when Sherrill — not Ricci — got out of prison. Ricci did a prison stint for a 2011 kidnapping conviction.

    Superior Court Judge Dean Fink said he declared a mistrial in fairness to Ricci and noted he didn't believe Green intentionally elicited the testimony.

    Prosecutors: 2009 shooting was a hate crime

    Authorities had sought the death penalty, saying Jaeger's killing was meant to further the interests of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a reputation for violence.

    Prosecutors have called the attack a hate crime.

    Ricci pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have raised questions about the Wellmaker's ability to identify him as the shooter. They noted that nearly two years after the attack, Wellmaker was jailed in an unrelated case and played chess with Ricci behind bars without recognizing him.

    Aaron Levi Schmidt, who authorities say was driving a car used in the shooting, pleaded guilty to murder in Jaeger's death. Lawyers for Ricci and Schmidt, both 36, have said their clients weren't members of the Vinlanders.

    Ricci is currently serving a 22-year sentence for assault and weapons misconduct convictions for an unrelated crime committed months after Jaeger's shooting death. Police say Ricci stabbed two men who tried to stop him from attacking his girlfriend.

    Jury selection in the retrial is set to begin in September.

    https://eu.azcentral.com/story/news/...ple/798477002/

  9. #9
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    September 8, 2018

    Retrial to begin for man in 2009 killing at Phoenix park

    eu.azcentral.com

    Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday for a neo-Nazi charged with trying to kill a black man and fatally shooting the man's white girlfriend in 2009 at a Phoenix park.

    Travis Ricci is being retried in the death of Kelly Ann Jaeger after his first trial in the killing ended in a mistrial because a witness, in response to a prosecutor's question, revealed to jurors that Ricci had spent time in prison.

    Authorities say Ricci yelled racial slurs at Jaeger's boyfriend, who is black, and harassed him about dating a white woman.

    Ricci is accused of leaving the scene and returning with a shotgun that he fired from a car.

    Authorities say Ricci intended on shooting Jaeger's boyfriend but instead struck Jaeger.

    Ricci pleaded not guilty.

    https://eu.azcentral.com/story/news/...rk/1242840002/

  10. #10
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Steven's Avatar
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    Retrial begins for Phoenix neo-Nazi charged with 2009 murder

    Authorities say Travis Ricci harassed a black man about dating a white woman. He is accused of trying to kill the black man but fatally shooting the white girlfriend.

    Associated Press

    PHOENIX — A prosecutor says a neo-Nazi accused of trying to kill a black man and fatally shooting the man's white girlfriend nine years ago in Phoenix was driven by hate.

    Prosecutor Ryan Green told jurors Monday at Travis Ricci's retrial in Kelly Ann Jaeger's death that Ricci used racial slurs toward Jaeger's boyfriend during a dispute.

    Ricci is being retried after his first trial ended in a mistrial.

    Authorities say Ricci harassed Jaeger's boyfriend about dating a white woman.

    Ricci is accused of leaving the scene and returning with a shotgun that he fired from a car.

    Authorities say Ricci intended on shooting Jaeger's boyfriend but instead struck Jaeger.

    Defense attorney Bruce Blumberg says his client didn't shoot Jaeger.

    https://www.12news.com/article/news/...8-bc31c23495cf

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