America's Worst Racist?

Chevie Kehoe and Danny Lee today look like accused white-collar criminals. That's a far cry from the skinhead Danny Lee or the white supremacist Chevie Kehoe of a few months ago.

Kehoe is allegedly tied to more acts of domestic terrorism than any other far right extremist arrested in the United States in the last decade.

"I'd certainly characterize him as a terrorist," says Bill Wassmuth, who monitors hate groups. "I would characterize him as somebody who is committed to this cause even if it might lead to his death."

He may be committed to his cause, but Kehoe may pay for that commitment with his life. He faces the death penalty in a trial that got under way Monday, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara.

Kehoe is the man whose brother Cheyne jumped from a truck and started a gun battle with police two years ago in Ohio. Though the pair escaped, Cheyne Kehoe would later surrender and turn against his brother.

Eventually, Kehoe's trail would be traced across 11 states to more shoot-outs, caches of stolen weapons, and stolen vehicles.

"If Chevie Kehoe is guilty of the things he is accused of, this is a man who would stop at very little to achieve what he wants," says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Grisliest of all are the torture murders of an Arkansas gun dealer, his wife, and her 8 year-old daughter. The three were dumped in an Arkansas bayou with plastic bags tied over their heads and large rocks taped to their bodies.

Federal agents and those who map the movements of this country's violent far right say Kehoe's racism had roots in a belief called the Christian identity-that whites are the true chosen people.

But others say his hatred was homegrown. Kehoe grew up in the timber country of Eastern Washington State. His father Kirby, now imprisoned on illegal weapons charges, raised his son with racist Aryan Nation rhetoric.

Those who remember Chevie Kehoe as a bright 9th grader blame what has happened on his dad. "He felt that there was never enough that he could do to please his dad. . .," says Kent Roberts, one of Kehoe's former teachers. "I'm sad and disappointed to see that this young boy who had so much potential has basically thrown his life over a cliff."

Now, winning the approval of his radical, racist father may cost him his life.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.