White supremacist pleads guilty to murder in Aryan Brotherhood prison gang conspiracy


Background. A general overall aerial view of California State Prison, Los Angeles County jail, Thursday, March, 6, 2023, in Lancaster, Calif. (Kirby Lee via AP)/ Inset: Brant Daniel booking photo California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Background: A general overall aerial view of California State Prison, Los Angeles County jail, Thursday, March, 6, 2023, in Lancaster, Calif. (Kirby Lee via AP)/ Inset: Brant Daniel booking photo (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

Brant “Two Scoops” Daniel, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang in California, copped a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering this week, making him the latest gang member to peel off from a group of over a dozen white supremacists indicted in a sweeping multistate drug-and-murder-fueled jailhouse conspiracy.

Sixteen members of the prison gang, allegedly led by Ronald “Renegade” Yandell and William “Billy” Sylvester, were charged in 2019, according to unsealed court records obtained Thursday by Law&Crime.

Federal prosecutors indicted them and 14 others — including Daniel — that June, alleging they engaged in schemes from 2011 to 2016 that relied on contraband cellphones smuggled into their prison cells to sell heroin or peddle methamphetamines. And when the gang members weren’t selling drugs, DEA investigators claim they were busy ordering hits on their enemies and anyone they deemed in violation of the so-called Aryan Brotherhood “code of conduct.”

Investigators said they were able to uncover evidence to bring the charges through an extensive seizure of the defendant’s devices as well as widespread wiretapping.

In court records that offer explicit detail of his confession to murder in aid of racketeering, Daniel admitted that while incarcerated at the Salinas Valley Prison in October 2016, he stabbed fellow inmate Zachary Scott to death while they were both “on the yard.”

Ignoring commands to stand down from swarming guards as he stabbed Scott 17 times throughout his “arms, shoulders, abdomen, chest, ribcage and face,” Daniel admitted in the plea that he inflicted puncture wounds so severe that at one point, he watched his prison-made weapon go through Scott’s back and “out his chest.”

“Right through him,” Daniel told one investigator. “Right through him.”

He recalled telling approaching guards: “Yeah I did it. It was me. I did it and that’s all I have to say about that.”

He hit Scott so hard, he broke his knuckle, he added.

Daniel also admitted that there was another individual he would have killed that day and boasted during a police interview, court records show, that “you guys would have had a double homicide.”

Daniel said he and another inmate murdered Scott because the man had “failed to carry out the killing of fellow inmate that Daniel had assigned to [him] as a white inmate subordinate” to the Aryan Brotherhood, Daniel himself and others at Salinas.

An intercepted “kite” or a secret message passed from Daniel to another inmate during this time also showed him taking credit for Scott’s murder, the plea deal notes, while lamenting how Scott had failed to kill another inmate in his prison cell versus “on the yard” as Daniel had ordered him.

Scott had also lost valuable drugs that belonged to him and the Brotherhood, Daniel admitted as part of the plea deal.

Several of the defendants have pleaded guilty already as the racketeering case slowly snakes its way to trial.

The trial is expected to start in late February 2024 and according to a statement from prosecutors, with Daniel’s plea out of the way, only five of the 16 originally charged gang members are now on track to face a jury before presiding Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

The defendants who will stand trial — for now — include accused leaders Yandell and Sylvester as well as codefendants Daniel “Danny” Troxell, Pat “Big Pat” Brady, and Jason “Jake” Corbett.

As for Daniel, 49, by pleading guilty to murder in aid of racketeering this week, he received a sentence of life in federal prison instead of state prison. He is currently detained at a California State Prison facility known as “New Folsom.” Federal prisons typically have higher security measures in place and are more restrictive to inmates given that the population is usually serving longer sentences for more violent or serious offenses.

An attorney for Daniel did not immediately return a request for comment to Law&Crime seeking further detail on why Daniel went this route, but The Sacramento Bee reported that Daniel has historically accused state guards of harassing him or even attempting to frame him for the death of other inmates.

Daniel’s lawyer also told the California-based outlet that while Daniel may have struck a deal, it wasn’t to cooperate with prosecutors when they make their case next year. Daniel had already pleaded guilty to Scott’s murder in 2017, the lawyer said, and he was already serving 30 years to life for that charge.

Daniel struck a deal to spare himself and his family the “expense and burden” of a jury trial, the attorney said.

Daniel was also previously convicted for attempted murder in 1995.

Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty against the defendants — who are suspected in the brutal murders of at least five inmates — this fall.

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