Metzger Released From Jail to Join Ill Wife : Justice: The white supremacist from Fallbrook has served less than two months of a six-month sentence.
White supremacist Tom Metzger of Fallbrook, sentenced to six months in jail for his role in a 1983 cross burning, was granted an early release Friday to be with his critically ill wife.
Superior Court Judge J.D. Smith said he approved the release request for the sake of Kathleen Metzger and not the former Ku Klux Klan leader.
Smith, however, warned Metzger he would be held accountable for comments made in a jailhouse interview that the judge said were threats against him.
Metzger had likened himself to a wounded grizzly bear in the woods and said that “the hunter better run, because the bear is very dangerous.”
Kathleen Metzger, 49, was reported in critical condition with lung cancer at Fallbrook Hospital.
Her son, John, said that she went into respiratory arrest Wednesday night and was taken to the hospital.
A note sent to the judge by her doctor stated she was gravely ill with a collapsed lung and low blood pressure.
“She is extremely unstable and certainly there is a likelihood that she will not survive,” Dr. Timothy Killeen wrote.
The Metzgers have been married 28 years. Kathleen Metzger was diagnosed with cancer last fall and underwent extensive radiation therapy.
John Metzger said she had shown improvement until flu-like symptoms appeared recently. They went away but she continued to weaken, he said.
Metzger, former Grand Dragon of the KKK and founder of the White Aryan Resistance group, was convicted in October of misdemeanor unlawful assembly for his role in the Dec. 3, 1983, cross burning in San Fernando Valley.
He was sentenced to six months in jail, three years of probation and 300 hours of community service. He began serving the jail sentence Jan. 6.
Three others, Stanley Witek, 58, Erich Schmidt, 26, and Brad Kelley, 29, were convicted of felony conspiracy, unlawful burning and unlawful assembly.
Metzger claimed he wasn’t responsible for the cross burning.
The defendants contended the cross burning couldn’t be seen by the neighborhood and was a memorial for a white police officer killed by a black man.
Prosecutors contended the burning was staged to intimidate the racially mixed Lake View Terrace neighborhood.
Last year a Portland, Ore., jury awarded $12.5 million to relatives of an Ethiopian immigrant beaten to death by skinheads allegedly incited by Metzger and his son, John. Metzger was forced to sell his Fallbrook home to pay part of the award.