Joliet man charged with arson
By Lauren FitzPatrick Sun-Times Media May 30, 2012 8:34PM
Here’s a look at some of the problems Brian James Moudry, of Joliet, has faced:
March 2005: Federal agents questioned Moudry about the slayings of the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow. The FBI believed Matt Hale, the leader of a white supremacist group to which Moudry belonged, ordered the hit. Moudry was not charged.
February 2005: Joliet police began an investigation after a racist flier was found posted in front of a home for sale in the Reedswood neighborhood. Moudry denied placing the flier.
May 2004: Moudry told police someone had fired shots at his South Reed Street home. The shooting came the night after a white power rally that Moudry had organized in support of Hale.
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:14AM
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 United State’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 following his arrest.
Moudry was scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. Thursday before Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert in U.S. District Court.
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.
John M. Kogut, who represented that man, said his client had attended a party at Moudry’s home the night before.
Police found him passed out on the property, 304 S. Reed Street and took him to the alley, Kogut said. There, a little girl about 12 years old who’d been awake on her computer that night identified him, Kogut said, though his clothing didn’t match her initial description.
At the time, he was 6 feet tall and weighed 180 pounds, according to his court file; his hair was listed as blonde, his eyes blue. Court records from 2008 listed Moudry as 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. His eyes were blue, his hair brown, according to his file.
“The girl identified him, it was a very bad identification,” Kogut said. “They didn’t have a case.”
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 www.rockmetalbands.com 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. He also played in several racist bands, including one called Xenophobia and another known as White Minority.
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.
“After about a week in the jails intake, my cell was raided for White Supremacist materials, which is considered ‘gang activity’ in there, I was also accused of ‘gang recruitment’ for talking to other White inmates about my beliefs, as well as criminal damage to state property, because I carved Swastikas and drawings of Klansman all over my cell door and walls,” he wrote on the web site. “This I did mainly out of boredom.”
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 gunfire after a 2004 rally.
In 2010, he threatened a black mail carrier, upset his mail had been stopped.
Moudry confronted the postal worker, according to the police report, demanding to know, “Where’s my (expletive) mail?”
When the carrier told Moudry to pick it up at the post office, he allegedly replied, “I already went there and they said I will get my (expletive) mail.”
The carrier repeated himself, the report read. Moudry replied, “I’ll put a bomb in your (expletive) truck when you get back.”