US is seeking 15-year sentence for reputed Conn. supremacist

By Dave Collins
Associated Press / April 30, 2011

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HARTFORD — Federal prosecutors are seeking a 15-year prison sentence for a Connecticut man convicted of trying to sell grenades and guns to someone he thought was a white supremacist but was really a government informant.

Prosecutors filed their sentencing recommendation in US District Court in Bridgeport earlier this week in the case of Alexander DeFelice, 34, a Milford man whom a jury convicted in December of conspiracy and firearms charges.

Judge Janet C. Hall is scheduled to sentence DeFelice on Thursday. Federal guidelines call for a prison term of about 13 years to 15 years, eight months. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence at the top of the guideline range, three years of supervised release after the prison time and a $700 fine.

“Arranging to sell guns and bombs to a person believed to be an arms broker for the Ku Klux Klan . . . is like putting a match to the dry kindling of one of this country’s most well known, long-term, and destructive reigns of hate-motivated violence,’’ prosecutors wrote in their sentencing proposal. “The government regards this conduct as both very dangerous and extremely serious.’’

DeFelice’s lawyer, Michael Hillis, did not return phone and e-mail messages yesterday. It is not clear what kind of sentence DeFelice is seeking.

Prosecutors said DeFelice was a member of the Connecticut-based Battalion 14 white supremacist group, formerly known as the Connecticut White Wolves. They say he began meeting in late 2008 with the government informant, a convicted felon who claimed that he was a member of the Imperial Klans of America.

Authorities say DeFelice sold firearms to the informant, Joseph Anastasio, for several hundred dollars and then made three grenades, which he sold to Anastasio for $3,000 in January 2010. Anastasio testified that he turned the grenades and guns over to federal agents. Anastasio wore hidden audio and video recording equipment that captured hours of what prosecutors said were incriminating conversations.

Four other men were charged in the case, including alleged Battalion 14 leader Kenneth Zrallack of Ansonia. The same jury that convicted DeFelice acquitted Zrallack and David Sutton of Milford, a black acquaintance of DeFelice’s who is not a supremacist.

The two other defendants, Stratford residents Edwin Westmoreland and William Bolton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and illegal firearms sales. Westmoreland is serving a three-year prison sentence, and Bolton is scheduled to be sentenced in mid-May.

Prosecutors said DeFelice knew he was selling weapons to a national hate group, made the bombs in his home and garage in a residential neighborhood, and sometimes kept weapons in his home where children lived.

In their sentencing proposal, prosecutors also included excerpts of a conversation between DeFelice and Anastasio, in which DeFelice talks about making a bomb that looks like a basketball to hurt black people.

“You drive to the top of a hill in downtown New Haven, you light the fuse and roll it down the hill,’’ DeFelice said, according to prosecutors. “And when all the [blacks] go after the basketball . . .’’

“Oh my God,’’ Anastasio said.

“It’s 200 feet of shrapnel in all directions,’’ DeFelice continued.

Prosecutors said their main concern with the sentencing is protecting the public’s safety.

“The defendant’s recorded statements . . . leave little doubt that he knew these weapons were both capable of, and intended to be used for, killing and maiming,’’ prosecutors wrote. “The defendant presents an exceedingly high risk of dangerous and violent conduct.’’