WASHINGTON (AP) - A white supremacist accused of fatally
shooting a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is
in no condition to appear in court, a federal judge ruled Monday.
James von Brunn, 88, was shot in the face by guards who returned
his fire last week and is still hospitalized. FBI officials have
said he is likely to survive.
After a brief private conversation with prosecutors and the
defense, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola said at a hearing that
he had determined that it would not be possible for von Brunn to
have an initial appearance in the next week, either at the
courthouse or in his hospital room.
Von Brunn has been charged with first-degree murder in the death
of 39-year-old Stephen T. Johns, who was black. Authorities say von
Brunn shot the guard in the chest with a vintage rifle after Johns
opened the door for him.
Little was revealed about von Brunn's condition at the hearing.
Prosecutor Nicole Waid said von Brunn is in critical but stable
condition. She asked to approach the bench for any further
discussion, and Facciola called all the attorneys up for a
"Obviously, he's not able to get to court," Facciola said
after their discussion. He scheduled another hearing for next
Monday to get an update.
Von Brunn's court-appointed attorney A.J. Kramer would not
comment further about his client's condition, citing health privacy
laws, but said he was able to meet with him at the hospital on
Von Brunn's son has come out publicly against him, saying the
shooting was unforgivable and he wished his father had died
Erik von Brunn told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he and
his father didn't like each other. The interview followed ABC's
release Sunday of comments by the son that his father had long
burdened their family with his white supremacist views and should
have died in the attack.
"I loved my father. But what he did was unforgivable," Erik
von Brunn, 32, said.
ABC played a short video of Johns' mother Jacqueline Carter
reacting to Erik's statements about his father.
"I hope that in time his son will be able to forgive his dad
and find some peace within his heart also," Carter said.
In response, Erik von Brunn told ABC, "Forgiveness is very
difficult right now."
"You know, the only bond we had was father and son. We didn't
like each other very much."
Von Brunn also had another son, James B. von Brunn, whose body
was found in a Seaside, Calif., motel in January 2007, according to
Cmdr. Mike Richards of the Monterey County, Calif., sheriff's
office. The 55-year-old son had health issues and died from
bronchial pneumonia, Richards said.
Richards told The Associated Press that when contacted about his
son's death, von Brunn said "he didn't want anything to do with
this," only asking officials for his son's watch. But a few months
later, von Brunn approached authorities, citing several reasons why
he was upset about how they handled the death.
Richards said von Brunn also was not pleased that a person, who
knew the son and was quoted in a report about the investigation,
told officials that his son "hated his father."
Richards said von Brunn contacted numerous county officials, as
recently as last month, with complaints.
"He wasn't very happy, and it didn't seem like he would accept
any explanation for things," Richards said.