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By Scott Sandlin
The Albuquerque Journal

ALBUQUERQUE - A letter written by an Aryan Brotherhood leader in capital letters, scrunched-up lines and a nearly impenetrable code of prison slang was the focus of testimony Monday in a federal trial of three men accused of plotting a murder.
Robert Cook, James Curtis Thompson and Zachary Arrington are on trial in Albuquerque before U.S. District Judge William F. Johnson for violent crimes in aid of racketeering - conspiracy to murder Bill Anders.
The letter was written in April 2005 by Richard "Hawk" Aue, a general of the Aryan Brotherhood who remains in prison in Texas, to AB members allegedly directing them to kill Anders to avenge the death of one of their own. Anders, an Otero County sheriff's deputy, shot handcuffed Aryan Brotherhood leader Earl Lee Flippen in December 2004 during a domestic violence callout in Cloudcroft with a fellow deputy. Anders filed the fatal shot after finding his partner shot dead by Flippen and Flippen's dead, pregnant girlfriend in a closet.
Donald "Donny" Wilson, the prosecution's star witness in this and two other related cases that have yet to be tried, was among recipients of the letter, which he translated almost line by line.
"Evil ones" refers to cops and corrections officers, Wilson said in response to questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Castellano.
"Aunt Claire" means a rival gang, the Aryan Circle.
"Kites" are letters. They are sent to "hubs" or secretaries, usually women, living outside prison who redistribute them to AB members in prison.
Aue's letter complains about Flippen having "sugarcoated and straight out lied to me," "getting his pregnant girlfriend and himself done in" and drawing negative, unwanted attention to the Aryan Brotherhood.
"Whatever Flip was doing it wasn't for us or about us & he sure as hell wasn't holding our brand as he should've," the letter says.
But Wilson said that language was to throw off law enforcement officers Aue knew would be reading it.
Wilson testified that the letter contains a coded directive for murder - when he says "anyone who thinks I am not taking this serious is smoking crack," calls for more "descretion" and announces plans for starting a "number system," which Wilson said referred to identifying tattoos of true AB members.
Defense attorneys are sure to contest his reading when they get a chance to crossexamine Wilson. Cook's attorney Bernadette Sedillo said in her opening statement that Flippen was on the outs with the AB leadership and the AB didn't plan any action in retaliation for his death. Leaders suspected "Flip" of betraying the organization, she said, despite its requirements of a "blind-faith commitment" and an irrevocable lifetime membership.
And Stephen Hosford, who represents Thompson, an AB general, told jurors the letters written in prison slang "are subject to a lot of interpretation, Wilson can interpret them in a way beneficial to his interests."
Wilson testified that he voluntarily contacted law enforcement after getting the Aue letter and soon met with FBI agents. His cooperation continued while he was in prison, for which he received $400, and after his release 18 months early. He continued working with an undercover agent for three years, getting more than $40,000 in expenses and $86,000 for his services, he said.

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