Like most, if not all, Public Enemy Number One Death Squad (PEN1) hoodlums, Jason Alexander Mahoney enjoys terrorizing people.
Mahoney has “PDS” (PEN1 Death Squad) tattooed on his stomach, a swastika on one side of his chest and a demon figure on the other, “PEN1” on his legs, a swastika on his shoulder, Norse god Thor on his left arm and numerous other pro-Adolf Hitler images scattered decoratively over the rest of his body.
The white supremacist is equally subtle in his oral communications.
“White power!” he once screamed at a 15-year-old girl. “What the fuck are you looking at? I'm going to come over there and fuck you in the ass. I'll rape and kill you, bitch.”
But when it came time to face a 2010 jury for stealing $442 worth of beer and food from Fitzgerald's Irish Pub in Huntington Beach (and carrying a loaded handgun), the convicted felon became decidedly sheepish about his white supremacy.
Mahoney, who goes by the nickname “Knucklehead,” demanded that Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen block
prosecutors from showing jurors pictures of him giving Heil Hitler
salutes, flashing PEN1 gang signs and lovingly holding Hitler's Mein Kampf. Such material would mislead the jury about his character, he argued.
Heinrich Himmler must be rolling over his his grave. Himmler
touted the “self-evident fortitude” of Nazi loyalists. Apparently, white
supremacy nowadays is a flimsy, conditional
belief system with a “time out” period. (The PEN1 crisis could be worse: See this story.)
According to the now 32-year-old Knucklehead, he performed pro-Nazi stunts in the photographs without enthusiasm and as merely a disingenuous effort to convince actual PEN1 members that he was one of them when he'd really “retired” from the gang.
Or, perhaps, as a potential Third Striker, he desperately didn't want to be convicted, win gang enhancements and spend the rest of his life in a California prison.
Anyhow, Jensen split the baby. He blocked the prosecutor from showing 13 of the 15 pro-Hitler photographs.
Nevertheless, jurors found Knucklehead guilty of nine felonies and the judge handed down a sentence of 35 years to life in prison.
This week, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana considered Mahoney's appeal of his conviction and, among several points, rejected his claim that the admission of the two photographs improperly prejudiced his jury.
A three-justice panel ruled that Mahoney's claim that he posed in the PEN1 pictures just to look “cool” wasn't reasonable and instead proved he was an active white supremacist in a criminal street gang.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.