Texas Jury Hears Account of Fatal Shooting by White Supremacist
By Friday, jurors are expected to begin weighing the evidence against a Texas murder suspect allegedly linked to Kingdom Identity Ministries, a racist, anti-Semitic group that opposes mixing of the races. Defendant Mark Simmons of Buda told an investigating officer that the victim, his friend Steven Woelfel, deserved to die because he had a Mexican girlfriend, according to testimony in the Hays County trial.
Simmons contended that after years of the U.S. government spying on him, he was in a paranoid mental state at the time of the killing, according to the San Marcos Mercury. He testified that he accidentally shot the 55-year-old Woelfel in his friend’s home in April 2010 and let the body sit for a week before setting a fire that burned it beyond recognition. In addition to murder, he’s charged with arson and tampering with evidence.
A Texas ranger testified at the trial that when Simmons, 52, was arrested he had white supremacist literature in his possession, including the book Vigilantes of Christendom: The History of the Phineas Priesthood. The book, said ranger Jimmy Schroeder, concerns a Biblical figure named Phineas, who apparently kills a mixed-race couple to win God’s favor.
Schroeder also said he found the words “avenger of blood,” apparently in Simmons’ handwriting, on charred paper in the garage — ostensibly a reference to the Phineas book. Schroeder said investigators also found information about cleaning a crime scene and disposing of a body in the garage.