Skinhead Goes on Trial Again in Drive-By Killing
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) _ A skinhead who got probation in the killing of a black man went on trial on conspiracy charges Thursday as the prosecution sought to win a harsher sentence.
Christopher Brosky, 19, was one of three avowed skinheads convicted of the 1991 drive-by shooting of Donald Thomas, who was targeted randomly because he was seen drinking beer with white friends on a street in the Tarrant County community of Arlington.
Prosecutor Marvin Collins told jurors in opening statements that Brosky’s friendship with the other two white supremacists amounted to conspiracy to kill Thomas.
″Three skinheads shared a common philosophy,″ Collins said. ″That the white race is a superior race, the black race is inferior. It brought these three together in a small group.″
An all-white jury decided in March to give Brosky a five-year prison sentence in addition to 10 years probation, a combination that is illegal in Texas.
So the judge was forced to drop the prison term and sentence Brosky to probation. The sentence sparked protests, including a march through downtown Fort Worth that drew 10,000 people.
An appeals court ruled last week that double jeopardy is not an issue because the charges are different. The trial was moved 300 miles south to Galveston state court because of publicity in Tarrant County.
If convicted, Brosky could face life in prison on an organized crime charge and up to 20 years on a conspiracy charge. Brosky has been in jail since he was convicted.
William George ″Trey″ Roberts III, who authorities said actually did the shooting, and Joshua Everette Hendry, 17, who drove the car, pleaded guilty to lesser charges and testified against Brosky.
Brosky said he was asleep in the back seat of the car and had passed out after drinking 19 beers. He said he was awakened by the shotgun blast, but didn’t think anyone had been injured until he was arrested the next day.
Brosky’s defense attorney reminded jurors Thursday that Brosky did not drive the car or pull the gun trigger.
″Donald Thomas, as far as I know, never hurt anyone in his whole life,″ said defense attorney Ward Casey.
The jury does not know Brosky was convicted as an accomplice in Thomas’ death.