June 5, 2013 4:01 PM
CHICAGO (STMW) — A white supremacist who burned down a black family’s southwest suburban home in a racist attack was told by a judge on Monday to be thankful for the black lawyer who defended him, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Brian James Moudry — who has the phrase “Blue Eyed Devil” tattooed on the back of his shaved head — was sentenced to 10 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman on Wednesday for the June 17, 2007, arson that left a Joliet family of eight, including several young children, terrified and homeless.
Gettleman told the 36-year-old he should use his time behind bars to get treatment for his mental health problems and to change his bigoted thinking.
Gesturing toward MiAngel Cody, the African-American federal defender appointed to represent Moudry, Gettleman said that “just looking at this lady next to you . . . who has represented you so ably and compassionately” should teach Moudry that “race doesn’t matter.”
“Everyone who comes into this room is of the same race — the human race that we try to treat equally under the law,” the judge said.
Moudry declined to speak at the sentencing hearing, but he nodded vigorously when Gettleman told him he was lucky the fire he sparked at a black neighbor’s home did not kill anybody.
Brian Moudry (Credit: Will County Sheriff’s Office)
“It could have been a lot worse,” the judge said, adding that he believed that, in his better moments, Moudry was also glad nobody was hurt.
Cody had argued that Moudry’s unmedicated schizophrenia, his history of childhood abuse at the hands of his father, and the fact that he was “extremely intoxicated” had all played a role in his decision to attack his neighbors.
Wearing an orange prison-issue jumpsuit, Moudry laughed and appeared to share a joke with the lawyer, who put her hand on his shoulder in a gesture of support as he was led back to his cell.
Still, hopes that Moudry will change his racist and violent ways were tempered by two recent fights he had inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, including one in which he hit an African-American inmate with a lock inside a sock, yelling “Yeah, I’m a white m*********** from Chicago, m***********,” according to court papers.
Urging a 10-year sentence, which Moudry agreed to under a plea deal, prosecutor Nancy DePodesta said Moudry committed an “exceptionally despicable crime motivated by hate.”
She added that while Moudry’s “views are certainly protected, his violent actions are not,” saying the sentence should send the signal that “if you threaten someone because of their race, you forfeit your right to live in a free society.”