Summer of Terror

Jonathan Black

Summer of Terror Case

The Summer of Terror is the name for the crime spree enacted by the white supremacist brothers William, which included the murder of a gay couple, the burning of several synagogues, and an attack on an abortion clinic. Luckily for law enforcement, these two left behind a slew of trade evidence that was enough to convict them for their crimes; while the police didn't know who to investigate until a stolen credit card charge brought them to the William brothers, the plethora of trace evidence mentioned below helped tie the two ever tighter to the crimes, linking evidence known to be the brothers to the scenes, and the scenes to the tools, until their guilt was clear for all to see. Even an attempt at a Daubert ruling wasn't enough to counter act this trace evidence and the startling links it drew.

B'nai Synagogue

The two William's brothers started out their crime spree with the burning of B'nai Synagogue. The brothers also strewed the area with anti-Jewish flyers. The accelerant they used, oil and gasoline, was splashed on the walls, the alter, the piano, and seating areas. While the majority of the building survived, the library burned down. Because the arson failed, three mobil oil jugs and a newspaper called the Record Searchlight from Redding, California, were found. The oil jugs, contained the following trace evidence.

An anti-Jewish flyer was found to have a partial palm print consistent with that of Benjamin.

Abortion Clinic Arson and Murder

The Williams murdered an openly gay couple, Gary Matson and Winfred Mauder, on July 1, 1999, in bed while they asleep. They lived in the town of Happy Valley, near Redding California. The brothers shortly thereafter attacked a medical Clinic offering abortion treatments and set it on fire; breaking in through a glass door with a black prybar while wearing jumpsuits.

Daubert Ruling

The Daubert ruling is a ruling a judge can make that declares evidence to be unreliable and thus inadmissable. In this case, the Williams lawyer tried to pull for a Daubert ruling, claiming that the trace evidence was not universally accepted by scientists and investigators as reliable. However, testimony from several prominent scientists assured the judge that the evidence was reliable and admissible, leading to the conviction of the brothers.