Violent neo-Nazi Travis Ricci guilty in murder of white woman dating black man

A notorious neo-Nazi may face the death penalty after his conviction Wednesday in the racially motivated 2009 murder of a white woman who was dating a black man.

Travis Ricci, 37, could also be sentenced to life in prison for the fatal shooting of Kelly Ann Jaeger. Jaeger’s boyfriend, Jeffery Wellmaker, was wounded in the attack.

Prosecutors said a shirtless, angry and intoxicated Ricci confronted the couple at a park near Phoenix, Arizona, yelling racial slurs and asking Wellmaker “what are you doing with a white girl?”

At one point, Ricci told Wellmaker he would get “something for him,” prosecutors said, detailing how Ricci retrieved a shotgun and then fired at the couple as they stood at a pay phone.

The driver of the car Ricci fired from, Aaron Levi Schmidt, pleaded guilty to Jaeger’s murder.

Authorities believe Ricci intended to shoot Wellmaker and struck Jaeger by mistake.

Ricci is alleged to be a member of the Vinlanders Social Club, a neo-Nazi group with a violent reputation. His lawyers, however, deny Ricci is a member. They also note Wellmaker was unable to identify Ricci in a lineup.

Working with a police sketch artist, however, Wellmaker did describe a unique tattoo he spotted on the shooter’s stomach. That design matched one on Ricci, according to a judge in the case. Ricci has a large tattoo across his stomach. He also has several other tattoos related to white supremacy.

In an odd twist, it emerged Wellmaker played chess with Ricci while the men were both incarcerated in unrelated matters about two years after the attack. Wellmaker apparently did not recognize the gunman.

Ricci is already serving 22 years for assault and weapons misconduct in a case that’s unrelated to and was committed after Jaeger’s death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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