ROCKFORD, Ill. - Two Illinois inmates were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on murder and hate crime charges relating to the beating death of a fellow inmate.
Brandon Simonson, 37, also known as "Whitey" and Kristopher Martin, 39, also known as "No Luck," were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder, hate crime and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
Both men are inmates at Thomson Penitentiary in Thompson, Illinois.
According to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Rockford, Martin and Simonson were members of a white supremacist group called the Valhalla Bound Skinheads.
On March 2, 2020, Martin and Simonson conspired to assault a fellow inmate, Matthew Phillips, because of his race and religion, namely Jewish, the indictment said.
Phillips was struck continuously in the upper body, face and head, even after becoming defenseless.
"Hatred and violence on the basis of religion have no place in our society," said U.S. Attorney Lausch. "We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to protect the civil rights of all Americans."
Conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder and hate crime each carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The maximum sentence for the assault charge is 10 years.
Arraignments have not yet been scheduled.