Summer of Terror

Summer of 1999. Sacramento, California.

June 18, 1999 - B' Nai Israel

Arsonists destroyed the library and damaged the sanctuary at the B' Nai Israel. At this crime scene many traces of debris was found on three black one gallon Mobil oil jugs with "Delvac 1300'Super" that had torn pieces of fabric tied around the handles of the jugs. This trace evidence included: paint chips with light blue top coat and a red layer, red plastic chips, white cotton strips of fabric, white and brown dog hairs, and numerous miscellaneous fibers.

June 18, 1999 - Beth Shalom & Kennesset Israel

Forty-five minutes after B' Nai Israel was set on fire, two other synagogues, Beth Shalom and Kennesset Israel, were also set on fire. Shortly after the flame ignited, it burnt itself out therefore causing less damage than at B' Nai Israel.

July 1, 1999 - Gary Matson & Winfred Mauder

The openly gay couple was murdered in their bed. Their car and credit cards were then stolen.

July 2, 1999 - Abortion Clinic

Medical clinic that performed abortions in Sacramento, CA was burned by arsonists.

July 3, 1999 - Abandoned Car

Vehicle belonging to Matson & Mauder was found abandoned with strong gasoline odor.

Break in the Case: Credit Card Fraud

Break in the case when Gary Matson's credit card was used to purchase ammunition online.

July 7, 1999 - Williams Brothers

Brothers, Benjamin Mattew Williams and James Tyler Williams, were spotted by police picking up the ammunition purchased with Matson's stole credit card. Both brothers were arrested on site for credit card fraud.

Daubert Standard

The Daubert standard provides a rule of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert witnesses' testimony during United States federal legal proceedings.

Daubert Hearing

The attorneys for the defendants made a motion for a Daubert hearing in forensic hair analysis, forensic paint analysis, forensic glass analysis, and forensic fiber analysis. They claimed was present technology had changed significantly over the years and was not universally accepted by the scientific community.

Synagogue B’Nai Israel Evidence

Glass on the black wrecking bar recovered from the Williams’ vehicle was similar in re fractive index to the glass from a broken window at B’Nai Israel. Paint on the broken glass of the window at B’Nai Israel was similar to the wrenching bar paint from the Williams’ vehicle . Oil jugs similar to the Mobil oil jug from Williams’ Palo Cedro residence. Dog hairs and feathers on the mouth of the oil jugs and rags tied to the oil jugs were similar to animals at the Palo Cedro residence. Blue over red paint chips on the mouth of the oil jugs were similar to the paint from the shed at the Palo Cedro residence. Newspaper in the bottom of a crate left at the synagogue arson was from the Redding area. A palm print on one Anti-Jewish flyer left at the synagogues was identified as from (Benjamin) Matson.

Hit List

Benjamin Williams had a list of Jewish church leaders and Jewish individuals influential in the national political arena on his computer. Investigators believed this to be a hit list.


Benjamin Williams committed suicide and James Williams pled guilty to murder with life in prison without parole in exchange for the State of California not seeking the death penalty.