Friday, November 16, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Palms man charged in neo-Nazi double murder to stay in state mental hospital for treatment until competent to stand trial

TAMPA — The former neo-Nazi who told police he killed two of his roommates because they mocked his conversion to Islam will be sent to a state-funded mental facility until his doctors declare he is mentally competent to stand trial.

Devon Arthurs wasn’t in court Wednesday for his second competency hearing before Hillsborough County Judge Laura Ward. In the first, Ward granted Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale’s request for a second expert opinion on whether Arthurs is competent enough to understand the charges he would face in court – two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony and three counts of kidnapping while in possession of a firearm.

"It appears to me in some areas of the report that the defendant exhibited an understanding of some of the issues in question," Gale said in the Feb. 1 hearing.

But in less than three minutes of discussion, Ward said that a second court-appointed expert, psychologist Dr. Daniel Patz , agreed with neuropsychologist Dr. Yolanda Leon’s conclusion that Arthurs suffers from mental illness and is "incompetent to proceed."

"There is no lesser restrictive alternative at this time than the Florida State Hospital for Mr. Arthurs, so he will be sent there and work, hopefully, toward restoring his competency," Ward said.

Arthurs told investigators that’s what he’s really wanted all along.

"I think I’d much rather be at a mental hospital, where I should have been," he said the night of his arrest. "My family has been telling me to go to a hospital. ...Obviously, I don’t feel like I’m capable of living day to day like any normal citizen."

Recordings from his May 19 arrest reveal Arthurs’ waning trust in his own sanity after the shootings of Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, with an assault rifle inside their shared Tampa Palms condominium. The recorded conversations began after Tampa police arrested Arthurs at a nearby smoke shop.

Arthurs’ spoke to officers for hours, at times appearing to rationalize his actions. He told investigators he founded the neo-Nazi group Attomwafen Division with a fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, and Himmelman and Oneschuck were members of the group. Arthurs said his conversion to Islam angered his roommates. He said he suspected they were planning acts of terrorism after he discovered a stock pile of explosive chemicals in the garage.

Russell, who wasn’t home when his roommates were killed, later admitted to owning the bomb-making materials and was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Arthurs told investigators he considered contacting the FBI.

"In hindsight," Arthurs told investigators, "It’s very stupid what I’ve done ... If I could go back and do something over, I would sign myself into a hospital and work on my anger issues and rational thinking skills."

Contact Anastasia Dawson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.

TAMPA BAY TIMES PREVIOUS COVERAGE


Defendant in neo-Nazi murders found incompetent, state wants second opinion (Feb. 1, 2018)
Suspect in neo-Nazi murders tells of anger problems, says ‘I might be kind of sick’ (w/video Jan. 30, 2018)
Neo-Nazi Florida National Guard soldier gets five years in prison on bombmaking charges (Jan. 9, 2018)
Former neo-Nazi won’t face death penalty if convicted of killing roommates in Tampa (Aug. 10, 2017)
National Guard ‘neo-Nazi’ aimed to hit Miami nuclear plant, roommate says (June 13, 2017)
Arrest of ‘neo-Nazi’ soldier highlights extremists’ links to U.S. military (June 12, 2017)
Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs (May 25, 2017)
Roommates in Tampa Palms slaying case never outgrew Nazi sympathies, friend says (May 23, 2017)

Comments
Football playoffs: Jefferson 34, Lakewood 23

Football playoffs: Jefferson 34, Lakewood 23

ST. PETERSBURG — Jefferson continues to prove that seedings don't matter in Class 5A. A week after upsetting top seed Hardee, the No. 8Dragons took down No. 4 seed Lakewood 34-23 in the region semifinals.Niko Duffey scored two first-half rushin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Bloomingdale 21, Palmetto 14

Football playoffs: Bloomingdale 21, Palmetto 14

VALRICO — In the offseason, Bloomingdale coach Max Warner told his players the goal was to play on Thanksgiving weekend.That left a lot of perplexed looks from the Bulls."They didn't know what that meant," Warner said.Bloomingdale had neve...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Plant 39, Viera 18

Football playoffs: Plant 39, Viera 18

VIERA — Once again, the Plant Panthers proved they're the kind of team that can take a little momentum … and run you over with it.That was the case in Friday night's Class 7A, Region 2 semifinal as the Panthers rallied from an 18-10 halft...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Seffner Christian 27, Carrollwood Day 16

Football playoffs: Seffner Christian 27, Carrollwood Day 16

DOVER – Isaiah Knowles connected with Christian Helms on a pair on 10-yard touchdown tosses as Seffner Christian defeated Carrollwood Day 27-16 on Friday, giving the Crusaders their first playoff win in school history. The win, a rematch o...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Nature Coast 17, Baker County 16

BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast, an easy winner most of its past 10 games, really never had the need to attempt a field goal this season. Nor did the Sharks need to throw much, despite quarterback Fabian "2 Fabe" Burnett possessing a talented arm.Bu...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Admiral Farragut 40, Cambridge Christian 14

ST. PETERSBURG — Admiral Farragut's Courtney Eubanks came out for his first home playoff game ready to play.Early in the first quarter, Eubanks had an interception on defense and followed that play with a touchdown on offense as the Blue Jacket...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Citra North Marion 40, Zephyrhills 21

ZEPHYRHILLS — Zephyrhills' perfect season is imperfect now that it is over. A 40-21 loss to Citra North Marion in Friday night's Class 5A region semifinal ended the Bulldogs' season at 11-1. They were ousted in the second round for a second str...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Jesuit 31, Immokalee 3

TAMPA — What a celebratory year it would be if Jesuit could win its second state championship in the golden anniversary season of its first.The Tigers are three wins away from making that happen.Jesuit moved to the next round Friday with a 31-3...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Clearwater Central Catholic 30, Tampa Catholic 3

CLEARWATER — A defense that strong can forgive a lot of sins. Coming off of a two-week break with an uncharacteristic streak of undisciplined play, Clearwater Central Catholic presented itself with more challenges in the early stages of Friday'...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football playoffs: Armwood 65, Lake Weir 7

SEFFNER – E.J. Wilson scored four touchdowns and Aamaris Brown had an interception return for a touchdown to carry Armwood to a dominant 65-7 win against Lake Weir in the Class 6A region semifinals Friday.The 11-1 Hawks will travel to Ocala Van...
Updated: 1 hour ago