HOUSTON -- Two alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are facing murder charges in the 2008 death of a Livingston man, U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced Friday.
Steven Walter Cooke, 43, of Tomball, and 28-year-old David Jason Michels, of Magnolia, made their initial court appearances on Wednesday and were indicted in July.
In addition to murder, Cooke and Michels are also accused of conspiracy to commit murder and possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in death.
According to the indictment, Cooke and Michels killed Scott Freeman in October of 2008 in Liberty County in a bid to maintain and increase their position within the ABT.
Prosecutors said Freeman, 37, was involved with a competing ABT faction.
The indictment described the ABT as a powerful, race-based, statewide organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons.
The ABT was established in the 80s within the Texas prison system, modeling itself after the Aryan Brotherhood – a California-based prison gang formed in the 60s.
According to the indictment, the ABT was originally concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy, but over time expanded its focus toward criminal enterprise.
Cooke and Michels are scheduled to be arraigned on August 30.
If convicted, they could face up to life in prison or the death penalty.