Five Years, But Couple Pleaded Guilty To Violating Civil Rights

On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Missouri announced that an Independence, MO man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the civil rights of an African-American family by setting fire to their residence.

Missouri Couple

Logan J. Smith, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera

Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one court of conspiring to threaten and intimidate a family from exercising their constitutional right to reside in their home because of their race or color, and one count of civil rights violation for committing a racially motivated arson.

Smith waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information.   Cheek-Herrera pleaded guilty to two of three counts charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on May 23, 2013.

According to the plea agreements, Smith and Cheek-Herrera discussed their desire to set fire to the home of the couple, and they drew a swastika and wrote the words “White Power” on the driveway. Smith and Cheek-Herrera created a Molotov cocktail, lit the wick and threw the gasoline-filled bottle into the side of the house that the couple was renting and set the residence on fire.  No serious damage or injuries were reported.

By pleading guilty, Smith and Cheek-Herrera admitted that on June 26, 2008, they conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate an African-American couple and their minor children in the free exercise of their constitutional rights to occupy and rent their home because of their race and color.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark and Trial Attorney Shan Patel of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

I would like to point out that the arson happened on June 26, 2008.  It has been 5 years, but the couple now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and fines of up to $500,000.   It is reported that Cheek-Herrera is pregnant.

So many have expressed impatience and distrust of the DOJ to make findings as to whether George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.  As we can see from the Smith, Cheek-Herrera case, the Dept. of Justice did not simply charge them with committing arson in violation of a Black family’s civil rights.  They also charged them with conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate the Black couple and their minor children in the free exercise of their constitutional rights to occupy their home because of their race and color.

The FBI took time and investigated to find evidence of conspiracy to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate.   If there is any evidence that Zimmerman was told of Trayvon’s presence in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, rather than merely seeing Trayvon while on his way to get groceries, the FBI will find it.   Hopefully, it will not take five (5) years to decide, but we must respect the thorough work conducted by federal law enforcement.

Imagine being on the federal grand jury hearing the Dept. of Justice bring the case against Zimmerman and ask yourself, does Zimmerman’s NEN call provide evidence that he intimidated Trayvon in Trayvon’s free exercise to walk in the gated community where he had the right to be?

“Shit.  He’s running.”

1.  Is there sufficient evidence that Zimmerman’s actions were perceived by Trayvon as threatening.

2.  “He ran.” 

Is there sufficient evidence that Zimmerman followed Trayvon first in his vehicle, then on foot, because he profiled Trayvon based on the color and race of those committing burglaries?

“Assholes” “Punks”

3.  George Zimmerman called NEN to report one person as suspicious.  By referring to Trayvon in the plural as “assholes” and “punks”, did Zimmerman signify that he saw Trayvon as a group and not an individual?

“Looking at houses.”  “Walking in the rain.”

4.  When Zimmerman got out of his truck and followed Trayvon, did he do so with intent to violate Trayvon’s constitutional rights since his only suspicion of Trayvon was that he was walking in a manner in which Zimmerman disapproved?

“I got on his back and spread his arms out.”

5.  Did Zimmerman violate Trayvon’s constitutional rights when after shooting him, Zimmerman got on Trayvon’s back to restrain him?

Posted on 08/31/2013, in Department of Justice, Justice For Trayvon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Justice delayed is not Justice denied. Every dog has his day and Zimmerman will have his.


    • @mindyme62.

      Justice delayed is not Justice denied.

      You’re so right, especially in this case. I prefer that the DOJ do it right than do it quick.


  2. I’ll get right up on this and add “…fucking coons…”.

    Did Fogen use this word as a racial slur to stereotype Trayvon ? As you stated, he used the plural, not the singular person description. This alone says to me, he’s a racist.

    To me, this makes it a hate crime. When you add in the other issues, he should be dealt with in the harshest manner allowed by law.

    I hate even typing that word, but Fogen said it, and lets not deny that.

    That single utterance to me says it all. Fogen has a black heart and it was obvious in this.

    I also know that he had text messages about Trayvon and Tracey that have not been released. I had a major blowout with one of my Fed customer / friends when it became obvious this was a sham of a trial. He, nor the Feds had anything to do with that, and he’s stated this is an open investigation and he stated, & I know for fact, the Feds move very slowly, BUT, are very thorough.

    I pointed out that SheLie’s interview just blew the “I was on my way to Target” story away as did her admission she was at her dads from Sat. evening on because they had a fight. I was reminded that they have way more info as to his calls and movements than we could possibly know. He’s standing on the things he told me, as did the others, that there is far more going on here than meets the eye. I’ll hold to that for now as it seems Fogen et al are more than happy to hang themselves with the ongoing bullshit they spew.

    If this gets prosecuted I’m told much of what we discuss will be used. It’s a no brainer on the impossibility of his gun draw with Trayvon allegedly on top and that will be beat to death.

    The key word “if” it gets prosecuted.


    • @racerrodig. I tried being modest by not using the “f” word. 🙂

      I hear “coons,” but since the feds said they could not make out the word, it’s okay to go with “punks” because that is also in the plural, and derogatory.

      If the feds do proceed to charge, I imagine there will be numerous counts.

      Curious minds want to see GZ’s text messages.


    • oh yeah! so how was they doing the mentoring every sunday night w the poor black kids if shellie wasn’t home too?
      they were saying yesterday that papa Z said gz made Shells dinner that night too. boy they’re schedule must of been a wreck!


      • @Shannon. If GZ was doing any mentoring of Black kids, he would have known how to communicate with Trayvon.

        His mentoring was probably asking what houses they had cased, what they had stolen, and how much money they could get for it through a pawn shop or on the street.

        If I’m correct, that is why he would be upset seeing Trayvon in the community and knowing he was not part of the “mentoring” program.

        Think about it — all that concern he had and yet, after he organized NW, GZ made one call on a suspicious person who was Burgess, and who lived just down the road from GZ. All those burglaries going on around GZ, and he sees nothing until he sees Burgess standing outside of Taaffe’s UNSECURED house.


  3. At the 40 second mark he starts shitting a brick…..that shit knew what was coming, he just didn’t know how far it would go.

    The Feds didn’t actually say conclusively he never said coons…….just like they never said he wasn’t a racist. They said they didn’t have enough to charge him at that time.

    It’s a year later……and “…that time…” is long gone. They never said he didn’t say coons, they said the audio guy at that time didn’t have a clear enough copy to analyze it. They left room for more investigation.


    • @racerrodig.

      The Feds didn’t actually say conclusively he never said coons…….just like they never said he wasn’t a racist. They said they didn’t have enough to charge him at that time.

      Okay. Thanks.

      It’s a year later……and “…that time…” is long gone.

      Well, Mama and Papa Zim have reasons for thinking their phones could be tapped. 🙂

      They never said he didn’t say coons, they said the audio guy at that time didn’t have a clear enough copy to analyze it.

      Maybe they should just take Juror B37’s perception, because she described a “coon hunt” when saying that when GZ “confronted” Trayvon, Trayvon should have ran again.


  4. thank you Xena and racerodig!?


  5. Let me try that compliment again! This time spelling names right and w/o the question mark! THANK YOU XENA AND RACERRODIG!;-))


  6. wonder what would be on the motion to have the phone records sealed? wasn’t that omar’s first order of business? so it would be one of his 1st motions? god I don’t remember a hearing on it. I remember they didn’t release any phone records until very close to trial. why wouldn’t those texts and emails be released by the state coming up on trial??? this is so weird. I think I remember the expression *too explosive* or something referring to the texts on the phone.. so there’s no texts no emails of z’s laying around in discovery??


    • @Shannon. Right. None of GZ’s texts nor emails in discovery. O’Mara said something along the lines of them being too controversial. It’s my impression that had those communications NOT been racial, that the State would have fought for their release, but since the State had not charged and was not prosecuting GZ for a hate-crime, they weren’t relevant to the State’s case.


  7. if you wanna see a very scary movie watch Megans missing! it’s on Net Flix. it’s so scary I cant even finish watching it till someone is with me! I had no idea it would be this scary! It just said it was about 2 high school girls who went missing because of an internet sex thing. it’s off the hook! and not in a good way! they said it’s a thriller! I figured it would be like Taken. with my favorite Liam Nelson 🙂 I love him! and that’s what I call a thriller..


    • @Shannon.

      if you wanna see a very scary movie watch Megans missing!

      Thanks for the head’s up. LOL!! I remember reading ads about “The Ring” thinking it was a mystery, to discover it’s a horror movie. Needless to say, I did not watch Part 2. LOL!


  8. Xena,

    Can you e-mail me and let me know how I can send you a private message. Thanx


  9. When the DOJ gets into the case, I’m certain they will find that gz knew of Trayvon’s arrival at RATL from his frequent patrols of the area. I’m also certain that they’ll discover that those guy we call the “three stooges” who covered their faces at the 711, were involved in luring Trayvon out of his house that night for the trip to the store.

    That means Trayvon’s house had to be carefully watched, because at any other time, with either Brandy or Mr. Martin at home to give him a lift by car, there could be no excuse for walking alone to the store on a rainy Sunday evening. On an evening with impending rain, off and on, that is no time to pick for a pleasant little walk to the store. There has to be a more compelling reason to go on that trip. Nor would a pleasant little walk, have any reason to cause Trayvon misgivings, such that he’d remark to Rachel over the phone, that he wished his mother were there with him. A remark that tells of a sense of foreboding about what Trayvon anticipated to be up ahead at the store. And sure enough, at the store, he meets up with three fellows, who show their unsavory character, by hiding their faces from the stores cctv’s.

    I’m of the opinion that DOJ will discover in the end, that this was a premeditated murder, since there was no way that gz could have obtained his wounds during the brief altercation that was caught on both Rachel’s phone and the 911 call that picked up almost immediately after Rachel’s call dropped. Thus these injuries had to be prepared in advance, and the only way they could have worked to provide a claim of self defense is, if Trayvon had been killed.

    Then there’s the matter of blood on the garage door frame of Jon. That happened before contact was made. So it’s most likely that’s where some preparations took place.

    Just look at the data points to see the narrative:

    1. Trayvon arrives at RATL on Wednesday.
    2. GZ patrols the estate regularly.
    3. Burglaries are being committed by Ransberg and Burgess with two other guys.
    4. Trayvon tells Rachel that he’s going to the store because Chad wants skittles.
    5. Chad tells us that Trayvon told him that, he was going to the store and asked him if he
    wanted anything.
    6. Trayvon leaves home on a rainy Sunday evening to walk to the store for some unknown
    7. Trayvon remarks to Rachel that he wished his mother were with him on this walk to the
    8. At the store Trayvon leaves, but doesn’t head for home immediately but waits there.
    9. Three guys appear in a car, moments after Trayvon leaves and waits outside.
    10. Trayvon waits outside for these guys to leave the store.
    11. These three enter the store with their faces hidden from view.
    12. Only after they exit the store and exchange final words with Trayvon, does he finally start back towards home.

    This has all the elements of a pre planned meeting up as the cause for this sudden trip to the store. The three guys at the store are two blacks and one white guy, exactly the remainder of the crew after the police arrested Burgess and violate his parole. Don’t forget that Ransberg was carrying a back pack with a stolen laptop, that Burgess immediately confessed was his. What would make Burgess, a burglar, so scared that he would immediately confess to a burglary, to save Ransberg from being charged with possession of stolen property? And, of course, why would the police not charge the guy, who was actually caught in possession of the stolen laptop, along with the guy who claimed it?

    Obviously there’s a lot going on that we are not being told. But, for sure these people all knew one another! People don’t merely hand over stolen goods to a person with nothing to do with the matters. They hand them over to cohorts!