Testimony Begins in Florida Murder Plot Trial of American Front Hate Group Leader
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jurors heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Marcus Faella, the alleged white supremacist who is accused of trying to launch a race war from Osceola County.
Faella's defense attorney said the only thing he can agree with the state on is that Faella was the leader of the Osceola County chapter of the American Front. He said he believes the jury will find no evidence a crime was committed.
"This case is about the American Front," prosecutor Sarah Hatch said in court Wednesday.
In opening statements, Hatch told jurors that Faella was training members of the group on his property for violence in the central Florida area.
"(The) American Front organization is a white supremacist, neo-Nazi organization," said Hatch.
Hatch said Faella trained Christopher Brooks, a known convicted felon, on how to use firearms. She said Faella planned to attack a group of communists at a demonstration in Melbourne and to shoot someone at the person's home.
The state's first witness, a paid undercover informant who infiltrated the group, testified that Faella used the term "race war."
"Did you ever hear Mr. Faella discuss violence against minorities?" the informant was asked by a prosecutor.
"Yes," the informant replied.
But defense attorneys argued that Faella and the others were just a group of guys firing guns into a mound of dirt.
Faella's attorneys told jurors that the state has no proof of any conspiracy and pointed out that the group prosecutors said Faella planned to attack was also made up of white skinheads and not minorities.
"Don't judge him because of the organization he runs. Don't judge him because of his beliefs. Listen to the facts," said defense attorney Ronald Ecker.
The informant said Faella talked about preparing to protect the white race in a race war and about expanding his compound to even include a school for the group's children.