Order Trial Testimony Traces Gun Used To Kill Berg
SEATTLE (AP) _ The man accused of killing Denver radio host Alan Berg had possession of the murder weapon the month after the gangland-style slaying, according to a trail of ballistics and other evidence in the racketeering case against the white supremacist group The Order.
Federal agents testified Friday that cartridge casings and a bullet from the machine gun used to kill Berg were found at a Montana house rented by Bruce Carroll Pierce in the summer of 1984.
Pierce, one of 10 defendants in the federal racketeering case, allegedly was part of a four-man ″hit team″ that ambushed Berg in his driveway on June 18, 1984.
No witnesses to the slaying have been found. The government is trying to build a case proving Order members were in Denver at the time of Berg’s death and had possession of the gun afterwards.
The weapon, an Ingram MAC 10, was found in October 1984 in the northern Idaho home of Gary Yarbrough, one of the defendants not accused in Berg’s slaying.
In addition to Pierce, government attorneys claim the hit squad consisted of Robert Mathews and Richard Scutari standing guard, while defendant David Lane drove the getaway car. Defendant Jean Craig allegedly watched Berg’s movements before the killing.
Mathews, The Order’s founder and leader, died last Dec. 8 in a shootout with federal agents, while Scutari remains at large.
The defendants and 13 others named in the racketeering indictment are accused of killing Berg and another man, counterfeiting money and staging a string of robberies that netted more than $4 million as they waged a crusade against Jews, racial minorities and the federal government.
The casings and bullet recovered at a home near Troy, Mont., matched those recovered from the Denver murder scene, as well as bullets fired from the gun in FBI tests, FBI specialist Robert Murphy told U.S. District Court jurors.
Witnesses told Thursday how Pierce, using the pseudonym Roger Morton, rented two homes in the Troy area in northwestern Montana beginning in May 1984.
Landlord Ella Ackley said she made Pierce and his family move out of her house after neighbors complained about a machine gun being fired on the property.
At the second house, rented in July, FBI agents recovered the shell casings and bullet that were found to match the Berg MAC 10, said agent Ernie Smith of Kalispell. In addition, he said, a target with a human figure drawn on it was found at the house.
Steve Fiddler, an FBI agent from Great Falls, Mont., said he and other agents searched Yarbrough’s home near Sandpoint, Idaho, after an Oct. 18, 1984, incident in which Yarbrough allegedly fired at three FBI agents who approached his home.
In what Fiddler described as the ″gun room″ in Yarbrough’s home, agents found a number of weapons, including the MAC 10 machine gun in a case.
Eleven of the 23 people charged in the racketeering indictment have pleaded guilty, Scutari is at large and one is jailed in Missouri on charges of killing a state trooper.