White supremacist arrested for threatening jurors during trial of Pittsburgh synagogue killer

West Virginia man who praised synagogue shooter arrested after he threatened jurors during neo-Nazi gunman’s trial.

By The Algemeiner Staff

A white supremacist with a long history of threats against Jews and other minorities has been arrested by federal authorities on charges of intimidating witnesses at the trial of Robert Bowers, the neo-Nazi gunman who murdered 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018.

Hardy Carroll Lloyd, 45, was arrested on Thursday at his home in Follansbee, West Virginia. During the trial of Bowers, who was convicted and sentenced to death earlier this month, Lloyd penned a series of emails and blog posts in which he celebrated the atrocity and attempted to persuade jurors to exonerate the killer.

“Walk into a synagogue and gun down 11 Jews and one rabbi,” he wrote in one post in late May. “That’s how you make a difference, people.” In another post, he addressed the jury directly, telling them, “make sure to vote what you know in your heart is morally correct.” Meanwhile, in a May 14 post on the Russian social media site VKontakte, Lloyd allegedly wrote: “Free Robert Bowers Now!! … We need to support anyone who kills jews (sic),” according to a federal criminal complaint. In another post three days later, Lloyd said that “Robert Bowers did Pgh a favor. Any juror who finds him guilty is guilty of anti-White racism.”

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“The offender in this case targeted the Jewish community for years with hate, vitriol, and calls for violence,” Michael Masters, director and chief executive of the Secure Community Network (SCN), a nonprofit providing security to Jewish communities across North America, told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “He is well known to the Jewish community. He is also well known to the security professionals at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and SCN, and to the members of law enforcement.”

In other posts, Lloyd allegedly threatened to publicly release the names and addresses of the jurors. In a May 17 email to local news stations, Lloyd said that people would be watching the jurors and “taking pictures of ALL cars and people who leave the courthouse,” according to the complaint.

Mike Nordwall, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office, said separately that “threats of violence used to intimidate or influence a community or jury cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Lloyd, who has a history of involvement with white supremacist groups, is the self-appointed “reverend” of the hate group dubbed the “Church of Ben Klassen,” named for the late Florida congressman and white supremacist.

Lloyd’s previous legal woes include a trial in 2006 for the killing of 41-year-old Lori Hann, whom he met through an internet dating service. Lloyd shot Hann in Aug. 2004 after a heated argument between the couple but cleared was of first-degree murder as well as voluntary manslaughter. Jurors found him guilty only of carrying a firearm without a license, and apparently believed that Hann was herself armed. He later wrote a song about the killing in which he plagiarized a well-known lyric from country legend Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” saying, “I shot that b—- in Squirrel Hill just to watch her die.”

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“That has a better ring to it, after all, than ‘I gunned down a frightened, unarmed woman,’” the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors US far right groups, observed at the time.

In 2010, Lloyd was sentenced in a federal court in Pittsburgh to 2 1/2 years in prison for possessing ten firearms and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition as a convicted felon. Last year, the Texas Department of Public Safety offered a $1,000 reward for information that led to his arrest after he allegedly made online comments saying he would be carrying a firearm onto the Texas State Capitol grounds and would challenge any law enforcement officer who tried to stop him.