commentary on the case of Samuel Compton and the late Cole Bailey Jr.
- From October 2004 to August 2005 I was in the custody of the Maricopa
County jail system in the status of "closed custody." This was
essentially solitary confinement. For 23 hours per day I was confined
to my single-occupancy cell, and for one hour I was allowed out in a
"day room" in which there were no other people in which I could take a
shower or use the telephone. Sometimes I would also spend part of that
hour talking to those in other cells adjacent to the day room. One of
those in the same pod with me was Samuel Compton (known as "Sammy" to
us). Sammy was facing possible execution or life imprisonment for
first degree murder, and he was often fed a punishment meal called "the
loaf" for his frequent jail disciplinary infractions, but he was
usually of a cheerful and talkative disposition. I was rather grim and
morose by comparison, and it did cheer me to speak with him. Many
times he seemed like a silly young man to me, but he did have his
serious side. He was devoted to his Odinist faith and would often
share with me his readings of the old Norse myths. He also convinced a
guard to transfer a book of his to my cell. He knew I didn't have many
books and that I like to read, so that was very kind of him. I don't
remember the title, but it was a memoir of an Alsatian who was
conscripted into the Wehrmacht and who fought on the Soviet front
during the Great Patriotic War, and I did enjoy reading it.
We also discussed at times the crime for which he has just been
sentenced, the murder of Cole Bailey, Jr. in October 2002 outside a
pool hall near the intersection of 7th Street and Bell Road in northern
Phoenix. I have refrained from making public comments on those
conversations until now, as it might be prejudicial to a pending case,
and, as hearsay, would not be admissible as evidence anyway. From
Sammy's comments, it was clear that Bailey was not initially part of
the altercation that led to his death and that his victimization was
mere circumstance. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Neither Sammy Compton nor the other two convicted of the murder knew
Bailey until moments before they killed him, nor can they have had any
grievance against him. They were skinheads, but he was white just as
they were. He did not seek to participate in the altercation. He was
simply standing outside the pool hall waiting for a taxi.
According to Compton, what started the altercation was something
trivial and idiotic. Two young women, girlfriends of the groups of
skinheads in the pool hall, started slapping each other. Why they did
I don't know, but the situation escallated when the security officer
tried to intervene.
Compton said that the told the security guard, "They're chicks. Stay
out of it!" The guard insisted that he wouldn't have anyone fighting
in the establishment, regardless of their gender. He tried to break
the young women apart. Then Compton attacked the security guard, and a
general melee broke out between the skinheads and the security staff.
The skinheads were driven out of the pool hall, but for some reason
that Compton either couldn't or wouldn't explain to me, they attacked
the innocent bystander Bailey, who had never been part of the
altercation and hadn't even been inside the building when it was
I often say that there is rarely such a thing as senseless violence.
Most violence has a rational purpose, even if one disagress with that
purpose (e.g. the crackhead who mugs someone to get money for his next
fix etc.) This truly was an incident of violence that was senseless.
There was no rational reason for those three to have attacked Bailey.
They may have had plenty of reasons to be angry, but not at him. I
often think that is the fatal flaw of the skinhead movement--violence
for the sake of violence, rather than violence rationally directed at
the causes of out grievances. I don't think I've ever heard of a
skinhead attacking a politician or a contractor who hires wetbacks or a
Neocon propagandist. Maybe if they directed their violence more
constructively, they would accomplish more and attract serious people.
One thing the news coverage of this case has omitted over the 4 1/2
years since the incident occurred is the occupation of the victim's
father, Cole Bailey Sr. Bailey Sr. famously tracked down Whitley and
convinced him to surrender and obtained information leading to
Compton's arrest in Bakersfield in February 2003. Bailey Sr. is
persistently portrayed as an heroic crime fighter. The news media
don't mention that Cole Bailey Sr. owns a strip club in Scottsdale. He
profits from the promotion of infidelity and pornography. While those
who killed his son couldn't have known this, and it wouldn't justify it
in any case, I think he would be a less sympathetic figure to the
public if the public knew about that aspect of his life. If we had
just laws in this country, he would also be spending a lot of time in
The following news story, attributed to Arizona Republic reporter
Michael Kiefer, was printed on pages B1 and B6 of the Saturday, 26 May
2007 edition of the Arizona Republic. The first sentence of the story
is perhaps the most absurd. It implies that being skinheads was the
real crime of which the defendants were "suspected" and that murder was
simply the only offense of which they could be convicted. Sammy
Compton was pretty open with me about being a skinhead. He didn't make
that a secret.
2 SENTENCED IN STOMPING DEATH
Man Was Fatally Beaten in Phoenix Parking Lot
Two men suspected of being skinheads were sentenced to more than 20
years in prison Friday for the 2002 stomping death of a young Phoenix
Samuel Compton, 27, and Christopher Whitley, 25, were initially charged
with first-degree murder. They were allowed to plead down to
The two men were sentenced separately. Compton received 22 years in
prison and Whitley 21 years. A third man, Justin LaRue, 29, had
already been sentenced to 16 years in prison.
In October 2002, the three men were thrown out of a Phoenix bar and
then took out their anger on Cole Bailey Jr., 20, who was waiting in
the parking lot for a cab. The men kicked Bailey with steel-toed boots
and beat him to death, officials said.
The case gained national attention as Bailey's father, Cole Bailey Sr.,
made it his mission to track down his son's killers.
he hired private investigators, offered a $10,000 reward and even
called White supremacist groups to see if they were harboring the
Cole Bailey Sr.'s persistence paid off when he lured Whitley to a
restaurant, spoke to him for 30-45 minutes and tried to persuade
Whitley to turn himself in. Whitley was arrested by police.
Bailey did not attend Friday's sentencing, however, and Whitley
expressed his remorse to Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren
"I don't have any excuses for my behavior that night," Whitley said.
"I'm ashamed to stand here before you."
Compton told the judge: "My intention that night was to beat someone
up. I can't deny that. But I didn't intend to kill someone."
Compton made an obscene gesture to the television cameras as he was led
The two men were tape-recorded in phone calls at jail laughing about
Bailey's funeral and saying they were going to beat someone when they
got to prison.
Granville likened the men to "a pack of wolves following prey."
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