In Fayetteville, NC, PFC & neo-nazi James N. Burmeister, who was with the 82d Airborne Division, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the deaths of Jackie Burden, 27, and Michael James, 36. To earn his spider web tattoo, he shot both of them in the head on December 7, 1995. He was sentenced to life.
The verdict came in a case that put a spotlight on racism in the Army. Prosecutors said that the killing of Mr. James and Ms. Burden was racially motivated, and that Mr. Burmeister and another white former soldier charged with murder in the case, Malcolm Wright Jr., were neo-Nazi skinheads who chose their victims at random.
A third soldier, Spc. Randy Lee Meadows, of Mulkeytown, Ill., pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to a prison term of 13 to 16 months. He was released because he had spent more than 17 months in jail awaiting trial.
Wright also was sent to federal prison for his own protection in 2006, Acree said.
On March 21, 2007, James N. Burmeister died at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Correction.
Acree said Burmeister died of natural causes, but said he couldn’t elaborate because of federal privacy laws.
Although sentenced to life in Cumberland County Superior Court, Burmeister was transferred in 1999 to the federal prison system to protect him from retaliation from other prisoners. Officials said Burmeister’s reputation as a racist made him a target in prison.