CHICAGO – Matthew Hale (search), an avowed white supremacist and leader of a group that preaches racial holy war, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for trying to have a federal judge killed.
"Mr. Hale is not concerned about taking someone's life, but rather how to do it without getting caught," U.S. District Judge James Moody said in imposing the sentence. "I consider Mr. Hale to be extremely dangerous and the offense for which he was convicted to be extremely egregious."
Hale, 33, showed no emotion and sat staring at the defense table as the sentence was handed down. Moments earlier, he delivered a rambling statement in which he insisted that no crime had been committed.
Hale was convicted in April 2004 of soliciting an undercover FBI informant to murder U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow (search) of Chicago in retaliation for her ruling against him in a trademark dispute.
Prosecutors said Hale was furious that Lefkow ordered him to stop using the World Church of the Creator (search) name for his group. Lefkow said the name was trademarked by an Oregon-based church group.
The hearing comes weeks after Lefkow's husband and elderly mother were shot and killed in the Lefkow home. Early suspicion fell on Hale followers but days later a Chicago man disgruntled over a ruling in his medical malpractice lawsuit fatally shot himself in Wisconsin and confessed to the slayings in a note.
Hale acted as his own attorney during the sentencing, as he had for much of the trial. He compared himself to Lefkow, saying they were both victims.
"Before you does stand a man who not only is innocent, not only is demonstrably innocent, but who refused to join a plot against Judge Lefkow's life," Hale said.