Two Thomson inmates indicted on murder, hate crime charges

The federal prison is located north of Thomson on the west side of Route 84.

THOMSON – Two Thomson federal prison inmates said to be white supremacists were indicted on murder and hate crime charges in the death of a Jewish inmate, the Department of Justice said in a news release.

Brandon C. Simonson, 37, and Kristopher S. Martin, 37, members of the Valhalla Bound Skinheads, beat Matthew Phillips to death because of his religion, according to an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Rockford, John R. Lausch Jr., U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in the release Tuesday.

The indictment charges the two men with conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree murder, and hate crime, all of which carry up to life in prison, and assault resulting is serious bodily injury, which carries 10 years.

According to the Bureau of Prisons:

Phillips, 31, of Texas, was found unresponsive with life-threatening head injuries on March 2, 2020; he was pronounced dead 3 days later.

He was the first of five inmates to die at the high-security prison, which has been plagued with staffing shortages.

Edsel Aaron Badoni, 37, of Blue Gap, Arizona, died around 2:30 p.m. Nov. 27, 2020, after a fight with another inmate.

A week later, on Dec. 3, 2020, Boyd Weekley, 49, of South Dakota, was found unresponsive at 2:30 p.m., also after a fight with another inmate.

Two weeks later, on Dec. 18, Patrick Bacon, 36, was found unresponsive in his cell around midnight.

Shay Paniry, 41, of Studio City, California, an Israeli mobster, was found April 31 with life-threatening injuries and died later that day.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.