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Former neo-Nazi takes sudden plea deal minutes before trial for murdering 2 roommates who mocked lslam


A former neo-Nazi pleaded guilty the day his trial was supposed to start for murdering two roommates he said mocked Islam after his recent conversion to the religion. Devon Arthurs, 24, planned an insanity defense, but instead admitted to two counts of second-degree murder in exchange for prosecutors seeking just 45 years behind bars and 15 years on probation, according to ABC Tampa affiliate WFTS. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella noted a 25-year mandatory minimum in court on Monday, saying that Arthurs will be an “old man” upon release.

Authorities in Florida said Arthurs murdered two of his roommates — Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18 — then held an employee and two customers hostage at a nearby smoke shop. When officers arrested Arthurs, he was asked if anyone else was hurt and responded, “The people in the apartment, but they aren’t hurt. they’re dead,” according to a police affidavit obtained by Law&Crime.

Arthurs was asked if medics would be able to help the victims and he responded, “Oh no. They are definitely dead.”

When questioned by detectives, “Arthurs stated that all of them had been friends with a common neo-Nazi belief, until Arthurs converted to Muslim. Since then, Arthurs stated, he has become angered by the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and had wanted to bring attention to his cause,” police said in the affidavit. “Arthurs also stated that, prior to the murder, he had been privy to neo-Nazi internet chat sites threatening to kill people, and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him.”

Arthurs expressed remorse while pleading guilty.

“I feel like I can honor the memory of Andrew and Jeremy by being a better human being, and I can make the right choices,” Arthurs said in court Monday. He voiced an apology, saying he let down his family, country, and himself.

Arthurs had told cops he and the victims belonged to the Atomwaffen Division. This is a neo-Nazi group whose members have been charged with various crimes, such as plotting to terrorize Black and Jewish journalists and conspiring to swat people including a cabinet official. Indeed, the double murder ended in substantial legal trouble for a fourth roommate, Brandon Russell.

Russell had been found outside the apartment, distraught at finding his dead roommates, authorities said. The ensuing investigation linked him to explosive materials in the apartment. According to authorities, he said he was only part of a college engineering club, but authorities determined that he planned to attack synagogues, nuclear facilities, power grids, and other people.

“There are big things to come,” Russell wrote in an online chatroom under a pseudonym, according to federal authorities. “We have many plans for the future.”

He was sentenced to federal prison and released in 2021, and it turned out there really was more to come. He was charged this February after he and his girlfriend Sarah Clendaniel allegedly plotted to attack power stations in Baltimore, Maryland. This new case is ongoing.

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