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White Supremacist Pleads Guilty

Chris Bosley, an auto body student, checks the car's wiring.
Shawna Williams/Forsyth Tech
The white supremacist accused of killing a mail carrier and wounding five people at a Jewish community center pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder and hate crime charges.

By pleading guilty, Buford O. Furrow Jr. was spared the death penalty and agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison as part of a deal with the government.

Furrow was charged with 16 federal counts in connection with the Aug. 10, 1999, rampage across the San Fernando Valley. He appeared at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Nora Manella.

He answered, "Guilty, your honor," 16 times as Manella asked if he had committed the crimes.

Furrow, 37, is charged with killing Filipino-American letter carrier Joseph Ileto hours after he allegedly wounded three boys, a teen-age girl and a woman at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in the San Fernando Valley.

He allegedly sprayed the community center with more than 70 rounds before fleeing to the west San Fernando Valley, where authorities say he shot Ileto nine times as the man was delivering mail.

Furrow surrendered in Las Vegas the day after the shooting.

Authorities said he told them afterward that he shot up the community center because he wanted to send a "wake-up call to America to kill Jews." He allegedly shot Ileto because the man appeared to him to be Hispanic or Asian.

Furrow's plea bargain includes a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole.

"We are very relieved that we were able to persuade the government that death was not an appropriate resolution of this case," chief federal public defender Maria E. Stratton told the Los Angeles Times in Wednesday's editions.

Furrow faced state charges of murder and attempted murder, and state prosecutors had added hate-crime allegations. The federal charges overrode the Los Angeles County district attorney's plans to prosecute Furrow under state law.

Furrow has a history of hospitalizations for mental problems, and his lawyers had said they planned to make his mental condition an issue at his trial.

Furrow, of Olympia, Washington, had a long history of involvement with anti-Semitic hate groups operating in the Pacific Northwest, among them the Aryan Nations.

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