By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Cover a white-supremacist case and you'll be reminded that fate has a wonderful sense of humor. For the next several months, two admitted—no, gleefully proud—Nazi-loving, Hitler-drooling, swastika-sucking young men face trial for the 2002 execution of a fellow Public Enemy Number One (PEN1) gang member. Worse, they are also charged with attempting to murder an undercover Anaheim cop. The defendant's names are Rump and Lamb.
Go ahead and smirk. That's what Jacob Anthony Rump, 30, and Michael Allan Lamb, 32, were doing May 14 before their jury entered Superior Court Judge William Froeberg's courtroom. Surrounded by six frowning deputies, these two nerdy-looking PEN1 gangsters smiled, winked and even chuckled with each other before the trial began. In fact, they looked like frat boys waiting for the keg.
Their swagger and levity were expected. Gang members never want to seem panicked—even if they can't control their legs from nervously twitching under the table. And the trial had just begun.
In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh pointed at the defendants and showed semi-nude pictures of their ink-stained bodies—billboards for Hitler. He called them hate-filled killers, and then, as only a veteran prosecutor can do, he slyly called them sissies, revealing that the two gangsters have pet names for each other.
In jail correspondence between the men, Lamb often calls Rump "my right butt cheek." The affection is mutual. Rump refers to Lamb as "my left butt cheek." After their arrests, Rump sent a handwritten note to Lamb saying, "We still fit together like a precision-tuned machine."
Sounds like some of the more tender moments from HBO's Oz.
But Rump and Lamb also tried to attract women despite their incarcerations. For example, in a letter to a female inmate, Lamb—who has PEN1 Death Squad references tattooed on his forehead and a swastika on his neck, and who faces the death penalty in this case—described himself this way: "I'm ugly. But I'm the best-looking ugly man you'll find. I'm a hottie if you like gangster. I'm 200 pounds solid and a hottie in the sheets. My friends call me the Hollywood Hit Man."
According to Baytieh, prison inmate Donald "Popeye" Mazza, the leader of PEN1, ordered Rump and Lamb to execute Anaheim's Scott Miller. The prosecutor says Miller helped establish the racist gang in 1986, but he became "marginalized" in the group by the late 1990s. He also committed an unforgivable sin: Miller granted an interview about PEN1's narcotics and identity-theft activities to FOX 11 News in Los Angeles.
"Scott Miller was a marked man," Baytieh told jurors. "And it took 13 months to take him out."
On March 8, 2002, Miller attended a PEN1 party in Costa Mesa, but by 11:30 p.m., he was back at an Anaheim apartment complex. In an alley near a Dumpster, he began to open a Pepsi can when his executioner fired a 9 mm handgun at the back of his head. The single lethal shot lodged in Miller's brain.
Neighbors heard the blast and a vehicle speed away but didn't bother to call 911. One said she was too busy watching TV news, and the other said he was heating a "late-night snack in the microwave."
"I didn't want to get involved," explained the witness as he glanced at Rump and Lamb during the first day of testimony.
Thirty minutes after the shooting, a police officer responded to a "man down" call, arrived at the crime scene and found Miller, 38, face-down in a huge pool of blood.
Three days later, an Anaheim undercover cop found Rump and Lamb in a reportedly stolen car. A wild, high-speed chase ensued, with the city's police helicopter, Angel, overhead. The two ditched the car and fled into an apartment complex, and Lamb allegedly fired at an officer. Luckily, the gun jammed, according to Baytieh. Eventually, the pair surrendered, and police forensics detectives tied the gun to the bullet that killed Miller.
"They live in a world that will make you shake your head," Baytieh told the jury. "They are all about control, hate and criminal enterprises. That is the glue that holds this gang together."
Marlin Stapleton, Lamb's defense attorney, conceded the defendants are PEN1 gangsters, but he mocked the prosecutor's claim that they were a fine-tuned killing machine.
"These guys were transients," he said. "They were using methamphetamines."
According to Stapleton, Rump and Lamb didn't kill Miller or knowingly shoot at the officer days later.
"They are innocent," he said. "Who really killed Scott Miller? This is the guy."
Stapleton put the image of Billy Joe Johnson—ex-Nazi Low Rider and current PEN1 member—on the courtroom projection screen. Weekly readers might remember Johnson; last year, he was convicted of killing a young man in Huntington Beach with a hammer (see "The Trials of Billy Joe, White Supremacist," Feb. 17, 2006).
"If you've ever told your kids there is no bogeyman, you're going to want to take it back when Billy Joe comes in here and testifies," said Stapleton. "He told my investigator, 'I blasted [Miller's] ass.'"
The trial is expected to end in July.