TOPEKA, Kan. — An ex-soldier described by prosecutors as a Satanist and linked to a neo-Nazi group was sentenced Wednesday to 2 ½ years in federal prison for distributing information through social media about building a bomb and making napalm.
A federal judge rejected a request from Jarrett William Smith’s attorney for a lenient sentence of 15 months in prison followed by three years of supervised probation. Federal law called for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, but sentencing guidelines said the presumed punishment for a first-time offender like Smith was from 2 ½ years to about three years and one month in prison.
Smith’s attorney said in asking U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree to impose the lighter sentence that because of a cleft lip and palate, he had endured a lifetime of victimization, isolation and trauma, which led him to become involved with online extremist groups. The Anti-Defamation League has said Smith was associated with the neo-Nazi Feuerkrieg Division, which it says advocates for a race war and promotes some of the most extreme views of the white supremacist movement.
Smith was a private first class stationed at Fort Riley when he was arrested last year.
Prosecutors argued that Smith, 24, admitted to providing information about making explosives to an FBI undercover agent in September 2019 and that FBI bomb technicians determined that his recipes were viable. He pleaded guilty in February to two felony charges of distributing explosives information and admitted during a hearing that he intended for it to be used.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mattivi said during a September 2019 court hearing that Smith planned to overthrow the government, with attacking a news organization as a first step. The affidavit said that Smith told another FBI agent before his arrest that his goal was to create “chaos.”
Mattivi said in September that Smith told the agent he distributed explosives information “for the glory of his Satanist religion,” though he provided few other details, other than saying that Smith liked “black metal” music designed to attract people to Satan.
Federal investigators have said Smith had encrypted communications with a Missouri man who this year planned to bomb a Kansas City-area hospital because he was distressed by the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Federal court documents unsealed in April also said that Timothy Wilson, 36, of Raymore, Missouri, was motivated by racial, religious and anti-government animus. Wilson killed himself in March during a firefight with FBI agents as they served an arrest warrant, according to the FBI.
Also, a 24-year-old self-described white supremacist from Las Vegas came under investigation in April 2019 while communicating with Feuerkrieg Division members, according to court records there. Authorities have said Conor Climo told an FBI source last year about plans to firebomb a synagogue or attack a local ADL office. Climo is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in February to felony possession of an unregistered firearm.
Smith admitted in his plea agreement that he spoke to others about his desire to travel to Ukraine to fight with “a violent, far-right paramilitary group.”
Smith previously was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was discharged from the military after pleading guilty to the two charges.
His attorney, federal public defender Rich Federico, said in court filing seeking leniency that Smith endured a near-daily barrage of bullying as a child and had repeated, painful reconstructive surgeries.
In 2010, when he was a freshman, Smith learned he had been on a classmate’s “hit list” as the intended target of a school shooting and related plot to bomb his high school. The attempt was thwarted.