Jury Convicts White Supremacist in Black Sailor’s Death
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ A white supremacist who wrote of killing blacks and making it look justifiable was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder in the slaying of a black sailor.
George Loeb, a leader of the white separatist Church of the Creator, was charged with shooting Harold Mansfield to death May 17, 1991, after a near- collision in a parking lot.
Loeb testified that he fired to keep Mansfield from attacking him with a brick. He appeared tearful as the jury verdict was announced, and declined to speak with reporters afterward. Jurors deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours.
Judge Peter Dearing ordered the verdict sealed for 30 minutes at the request of courthouse security. Twenty bailiffs were present when it was announced.
Loeb faces life in prison without possibility of parole for 25 years when he is sentenced Aug. 20. Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
He testified Monday that he shot Mansfield after the sailor threatened him during an argument filled with racial epithets from both sides.
″I didn’t have any choice. If I hadn’t shot him, he would have hit me in the head with the brick,″ he said.
But prosecution witnesses said Mansfield had dropped the brick and was backing away when Loeb, 35, opened fire. Loeb fled Florida after the shooting and was arrested in New York state.
Mansfield, 22, had just returned to Jacksonville aboard the USS Saratoga after service in the Persian Gulf War.
State Attorney Harry Shorstein said Loeb shot the sailor because of his hatred for blacks.
″I don’t think George Loeb understands why he is on trial for homicide ... all he did was kill some subhuman, stinking creature,″ Shorstein said sarcastically.
He called Loeb’s writings, which were introduced as evidence, ″a road map to the murder of Harold Mansfield.″
In one letter to a Ku Klux Klansman, Loeb wrote: ″The frequent use of the word nigger should lead to a widespread and violent black uprising that should give whites (and possibly police) the opportunity to kill large numbers of them with impunity.″