At 48, James Wallis has spent all but three years of his adult life behind bars.
A prison sentence he received Wednesday means he has little chance of ever returning to life on the outside.
“It’s just effectively a life sentence,” defense attorney Kevin Stolworthy said.
Wallis is one of five reputed members of the Aryan Warriors, a white supremacist gang that operates in Nevada prisons and in certain Nevada communities, who were convicted in July after a seven-week trial in federal court. Federal prosecutors alleged the gang asserted control over other prisoners through violence and extortion.
Wallis was the first of the group to be sentenced.
Prosecutors also alleged gang members distributed illegal drugs, ran illegal gambling operations and corrupted guards.
Wallis already has served 14 years of a 66-year sentence in the Nevada prison system. Arguments at his sentencing hearing Wednesday centered on whether U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson should impose a concurrent or consecutive sentence for the defendant’s federal crimes.
Dawson chose a 25-year prison term and ruled that Wallis must serve only 15 years of that time on top of his state sentence. That brings the defendant’s total remaining sentence to 67 years.
Stolworthy said his client has little chance of being granted an early release, which means the inmate can expect to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The defense attorney said Wallis has had just three years of freedom since he was 17.
“He was raised by convicts,” Stolworthy said.
The defendant’s prior crimes include attempting to murder an inmate in 2005 at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs.
Also, federal prosecutors contend he was involved in the attempted murder of another High Desert inmate that year.
In the federal case, jurors found Wallis guilty of later participating in the stabbing of a fellow Aryan Warriors member at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. The jury also found Wallis guilty of conspiring to engage in racketeering.
Stolworthy argued that Wallis, once an Aryan Warriors leader, retired from the gang in 2004.
As Wallis stood in court Wednesday, he described himself as a product of the prison system and offered no apologies for his criminal behavior.
“I do what I do to survive in prison,” he told Dawson.
Also convicted with Wallis were Charles Gensemer, Mike Yost, Robert Young and Kenny Krum. Dawson is scheduled to sentence them in December.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.