As the Houston Chronicle reports, Cole, along with his fellow Nazis, was charged with mailing threatening communications, cyberstalking, and interfering with federally protected activity based on religion.
Other Atomwaffen leaders got sentences much shorter than the one handed down to Cole. There’s a reason for that. Despite pleas from Cole’s grandmother that he was “a good man” and claims from his attorney that the hate campaign had not really been Cole’s idea, there was this:
Unlike others sentenced in the case, Cole expressed no remorse, which helped explain why his sentence was more than twice as long as that of the conspiracy’s other leader, Cameron Shea. At his sentencing, Shea told the court, “I cannot put into words the guilt that I feel about this fear and pain that I caused.”
It’s hard to know if Shea’s expression of grief was real or simply convenient. However, Cole didn’t even offer that much. He apologized for none of the threats and racist statements that were introduced during the trial. Cole was “promoted” to leader of the Washington faction of Atomwaffen after the previous leader there was sentenced on explosives charges.
As a counter to the words of his grandmother, several of those who had been on the receiving end of Cole’s threats, which included posters covered in skulls, swastikas, and images of Molotov cocktails being thrown into homes, attended court to testify to the terror and disruption he had brought to their lives. Along with the threats, Cole had also led the group in “swatting” journalists and critics of Atomwaffen by reporting violent crimes underway at their locations, causing police to respond with the expectation that they were stopping a murder or kidnapping in progress.
“That was his identity,” said U.S. attorney Thomas Woods. “His life’s work to this point: hate, targeting people to instill terror. And it worked.”
It’s hard to find anything “good” in Cole, other than the fact that no one will have to deal with him for some time.