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Suspect pleads not guilty in supremacist bombing plot
by J.M. Lawrence

Saturday, June 30, 2001

With tattoos declaring himself a racist and a bandage covering the artery he slashed with a disposable prison razor, Leo V. Felton pleaded innocent yesterday to plotting to bomb Boston landmarks associated with blacks and Jews.

The lanky, towering man was led in shackles before a federal judge shortly after more than 200 people gathered near Faneuil Hall to denounce the cell of white supremacists who allegedly plotted to destroy the New England Holocaust Memorial.

``Boston is better than this. This is not a place where you can live. This is not a place where you can hide,'' Darnell Williams, director of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts told the crowd.

In front of the six glass towers commemorating millions of Jews murdered by Nazis, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other speakers called on the city to stand against racism.

``Let us not see this as a moment of focus on people who are obviously demented and criminal,'' Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner said, ``but focus on our ability to build a healthy, diverse city.''

Minutes later, Robert Leikind, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, announced that someone had been quietly handing out racist and anti-Semitic fliers during the event.

The fliers from a group known as the National Alliance urged parents to warn children about Jews and implied that Jewish producers encourage interracial dating through films such as ``Save The Last Dance.''

``These are just words but we are people who care and who have hearts that say we will not stand for this,'' Leikind said.

Federal agents say they found a newspaper clipping of a service at the Holocaust Memorial in April along with photos of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge inside the North End apartment that Felton, 30, shared with Erica Chase, 21, who also is under indictment in the bombing conspiracy.

A Harvard student who was Chase's friend, Kathy McGaffigan, has told authorities that she disposed of bomb-making materials kept in the apartment after Chase contacted her following an April arrest on counterfeiting charges.

A court-appointed attorney for Felton yesterday declined to discuss his alleged beliefs and emphasized his right to a fair trial.

``Under our system of justice, Mr. Felton is innocent - and he remains innocent - unless and until a jury returns a verdict otherwise,'' attorney Lenore Glaser said.

Wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit and plastic sandals, Felton answered ``not guilty'' in a deep voice nine times as a clerk read charges that could send him to prison for up to 65 years.

A biracial man, Felton has the words ``SKIN'' and ``HEAD'' tattooed on the sides of his head and three X's on his chest that are the symbol of a racist movement.

He was released in January from a New Jersey prison after serving 11 years, including six in Attica, for assaults, including wielding a crowbar at a black cabbie in New York City.

His wife, Lisa Felton, 26, faces weapons charges in Ipswich District Court. Her attorney says she is a devout Christian who knew nothing about her husband's alleged bomb plot.

Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler held Felton without bond.

Prosecutor Theodore Merritt told the court he intends to call 20 witnesses against Felton at a trial that will take two weeks.

Investigators have refused to say whether more arrests will be made in the case.



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