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Neo-Nazi charged with killing skinhead 
Victim one of two confronting trio in Mt. Washington 

Thursday, February 10, 2000

By Dennis B. Roddy and Cindi Lash, Post-Gazette Staff Writers 

Michael Stehle, accused of killing an Oakland man in a mysterious
confrontation at a Mount Washington house filled with far-right
literature, is a longtime skinhead with a history of membership in
white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

Stehle, 26, currently is the leading local member and recruiter for
the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group whose founder authored "The
Turner Diaries," the novel that investigators say became the blueprint
for the Oklahoma City bombing.

He has written music reviews for the skinhead magazine "Resistance,"
which was purchased last year by the National Alliance's founder,
William Pierce, in an effort to reach out to younger members.

"Mike has been doing a very good job out there, distributing materials
and recruiting people," Pierce said in a telephone interview last

Pierce theorized that the confrontation that led to Stehle's arrest
might have been an attack by "Sharps," an acronym for skinheads
against racial prejudice, people who dress and look like skinheads but
don't share their racists views and who are known to get into physical
confrontations with racist skinheads.

Police would not comment on whether they believed Stehle's ideologies
were linked to the attack on him and his housemates early Tuesday that
ended with mortal wounding of an Oakland man.

William Crowley, spokesman for the Pittsburgh FBI office, said the
agency is now assisting city police in their investigation.

Stehle was jailed without bond yesterday following arraignment,
charged with homicide in the shooting death of Brian Hartzell, 24, of
Ward Street, Oakland.

Police said that at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, Hartzell and another man
knocked at the door of the three-story frame home on Mount Washington
that Stehle shared with roommates Joseph Foley, 28, and Robert
Reichel, 27. Hartzell and his companion claimed to be acquaintances of
Reichel's and said they needed a place to stay. Once inside, police
said, Hartzell pulled a handgun and his companion produced a shotgun.

Police said Reichel and Foley told them Hartzell was angry because he
believed a resident of the house had beaten a friend.

Reichel escaped and ran two blocks to a gas station where he called

As Hartzell held Foley at gunpoint in the first-floor living room,
police said, Stehle came down the stairs from the second floor and
fired three shots from a handgun. One shot struck Hartzell in the head
and he died later at Mercy Hospital.

Hartzell's companion fled before police arrived and has not been
located. The shotgun they believe he was carrying was found on the
street a few blocks away.

In addition to the handguns, police said they recovered an AK-47
assault rifle as well as magazines and paraphernalia from neo-Nazi and
right-wing groups.

Police said they did not know why Hartzell and his companion burst
into Stehle's home.

Hartzell, who friends and family said was a member of a U.S. Marine
reserve unit, had short hair and dressed like a skinhead, in
suspenders, combat boots and flak jackets. But they said he did not
share their racist views.

"He was against Nazis; he said that much," said a manager at the Wing
Pitt in Oakland, where Hartzell worked part time as a cook and driver.

Blake McLaren, a friend who lives in the Oakland apartment house where
Hartzell lived, said Hartzell was avowedly against racism, had a
Jewish roommate and occasionally argued with racist skinheads he met
at parties in the neighborhood.

Bright, personable, and without a history for confrontation, Stehle
was described as "downright likeable" by Richard Ashkettle, an Oakland
computer programmer who became familiar with Stehle in the 1990s.

Four years ago, in a lengthy interview with the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, Stehle discussed his political beliefs, which he
described as fitting none of the traditional left-wing, right-wing

"I'm not a bird. I don't have wings," he said.

At the time, Stehle was active with a fascist group called "Clan
Rook," also sometimes known as "New Dawn," which operated out of the
Oakland apartment of a University of Pittsburgh student.

In the interview, Stehle spoke favorably about fascism, spoke of the
need for a "white homeland" within the United States and praised The
Order, a terrorist group that carried out a string of murders and
robberies in the 1980s.

"I agree with their ideology to a certain extent," he said. "Their
actions were premature."

He described Robert Mathews, The Order's founder, who died in a wild
exchange of machine gun fire with federal agents in 1984, as "a

Clan Rook and New Dawn eventually dissolved. The Web page they had
posted on the University of Pittsburgh's computer system vanished and
Daniel Norbeck, who led the group, eventually moved out of town.

Pierce last night said he is hoping to hear from Stehle in coming
days. He criticized city police, saying they should not have charged

"Armed intruders came into his home under false pretenses, pulled guns
and one of them got killed," Pierce said. "We may very well have to
consider getting involved in this thing."

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