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FBI: White supremacist set fire to black family’s house

Joliet resident Brian Moudry

Joliet resident Brian Moudry

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Updated: July 6, 2012 9:15AM

A self-avowed white supremacist who served time for a hate crime was accused Wednesday of nearly five years ago trying to burn his neighbors — a black family with eight children — out of their Joliet home.

FBI agents arrested Brian James Moudry on federal arson and civil rights charges for allegedly setting fire to their home. No one was injured in the June 2007 fire, but eight children and an adult were inside at the time, according to a federal indictment.

Moudry was the second man accused of setting the fire. Police apparently arrested the wrong man the first time. 

“It’s a delicate situation. We’re not going to comment,” said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

Moudry, 35, of the 300 block of South Reed Street, was charged Wednesday with one count each of arson, using fire to interfere with housing rights on the basis of race and using fire to commit another felony in a three-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last week and unsealed after his arrest.

The new arson charge carries a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison; arson to interfere with housing rights carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; and arson while committing another felony carries a mandatory prison term of 10 years, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

According to the indictment, Moudry set fire to a house in the 300 block of South Reed Street on June 17, 2007. The family moved after the fire.

But in the fire’s aftermath, a 29-year-old Des Plaines man was charged with arson in Will County Circuit Court. That man’s case was set to have a jury trial on March 10, 2008, but prosecutors dropped the charges that day.

Moudry, who lived just doors away from the fire, has not been a stranger to controversy. Moudry has a pending weapons case in Will County Circuit Court; he pleaded innocent in April to carrying a firearm and was supposed to return before Judge Marzell Richardson on Tuesday, according to the docket.

In 2005, he was interviewed on about a Hatemonger Warzine, which he edited and self-published at that time. Calling himself the editor “Rev. Brian ‘Warhead von Jewgrinder’ Moudry,” he wrote that he was half Irish, half Czech and had been involved in the White Power movement since he was about 17 or 18. Moudry grew up in the Marquette Park neighborhood in Chicago, a community that saw race riots in the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote.

 He spent time in jail after a 1999 arrest in New Lenox on aggravated assault and hate crime charges, accused of fighting with two black men. Court records show he was convicted of the hate crime and was sentenced to about three months in jail and another two years’ probation.

Moudry has led white power demonstrations in recent years. His house was hit by drive-by gunire after a 2004 rally.

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