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2 Thomson inmates face murder, hate crime charges after death of fellow prisoner

According to the indictment, both inmates facing charges were members of a white supremacist group.

THOMSON, Ill. — Two inmates at Thomson Penitentiary were indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Dec. 7 for murder and hate crime following the beating death of another inmate.

A news release from the U.S. Department of Justice named 37-year-old Brandon "Whitey" Simonson and 39-year-old Kristopher "No Luck" Martin as the inmates charged with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder, hate crime and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to an indictment from a 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, the pair reportedly conspired to assault fellow inmate Matthew Phillips because of his race and Jewish beliefs.

The charges alleged Martin and Simonson struck Phillips in the upper body, face and head continuously after the victim was 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, and the max sentence for an assault charge is 10 years. 

Arraignments have not been scheduled as of Tuesday.