The brother of two suspects in the 1998 shooting deaths of two Las Vegas men gave emotional testimony Friday in the federal murder case.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael Kennedy asked the witness, Shahn Hack, whether it was difficult for him to appear as a witness in the case.
After sighing a couple of times, Hack replied, “I do not want to be here. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that my sister said she’d been involved in something like this.”
Hack’s sister, Melissa Hack, is one of three people to admit their involvement in the racially motivated killings. All three testified for the government during the murder trial of her brother Ross Hack and his co-defendant, Leland Jones.
Authorities said the execution-style killings were carried out by people associated with racist neo-Nazi skinhead groups.
Shahn Hack, who runs the business side of his father’s vitamin company in Las Vegas, was the last witness to testify at the federal murder trial. Both defendants declined to take the witness stand.
Closing arguments in the case are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
Both Melissa Hack and Mandie Abels, Ross Hack’s former girlfriend, have admitted they helped lure the victims to a remote desert site on federal land, where the killings occurred in the early morning hours of July 4, 1998.
Authorities have said Lin “Spit” Newborn, 25, and Daniel Shersty, 20, were killed because they were members of a skinhead group that opposed racial prejudice. Newborn was black, and Shersty was white.
Both Melissa Hack and Abels pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and testified for the government at trial.
Shahn Hack, the oldest of four Hack siblings, was asked Friday whether his brother had developed an interest in skinhead music.
“Yeah, unfortunately,” the witness replied.
He also said his brother became a skinhead against his advice.
Both Shahn Hack and his sister, Janessa Wilson, who also testified for the defense, said Ross Hack was not violent.
When Shahn Hack was asked whether he thought Melissa Hack was truthful, he replied: “My sister’s lied about a lot of things.”
Wilson answered a similar question during her testimony by saying, “I believe that she’s untruthful.”
Although Wilson admitted she had associated with skinheads and worn skinhead-style clothing, Shahn Hack said he has had no involvement in the white supremacist movement.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
Shahn Hack said he does not share his brother’s beliefs and noted that his wife is Hispanic.
“I don’t want to be in the newspaper,” he said, his voice quavering.
After testifying, Shahn Hack passed the defense table as he exited the courtroom, but he did so without turning to look in his brother’s direction.
John “Polar Bear” Butler, who was convicted of the two murders in December 2000 in Clark County District Court, testified for the government during the federal murder trial.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.