Miller’s arrest coincided with the biggest crackdown against white supremacists since the heyday of the Klan. That April, the Justice Department indicted 13 “patriots” on charges that included seditious conspiracy. Among them were Beam, the online organizer; Richard Butler, leader of the Aryan Nations; and five alleged members of the Order. Miller cut a deal: In exchange for a reduction in the massive charges he was facing, he’d help federal prosecutors prove the men had created a national network of terror.
The sedition trial, which took place in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was an unmitigated disaster. In her history of white power, Bring the War Home, University of Chicago historian Kathleen Belew shows how the movement was conducting an organized war against the federal government: cell terrorism, recruitment of soldiers, procurement of stolen military weapons, the Liberty Net computer network. “Despite this clear evidence,” she writes, “the jury would acquit all [the] defendants.”
Miller’s testimony helped torpedo the case. While he connected the Order to the Aryan Nations, paramilitary activity, and stolen cash, he also said that the FBI entrapped white supremacists and that his own group had turned to military tactics because “Jew communists” were running the country. After the trial, one juror explained to the Associated Press, “We just didn’t believe the government’s witnesses.”
The verdict was the biggest setback for the prosecution of white hate groups since the Greensboro Massacre. Bigger, actually: The federal government pulled back from pursuing white supremacy as a movement, instead focusing on isolated crimes. As a result, it would leave the dots of the growing white underground unconnected at precisely the time the movement was getting even more violent.
Miller, meanwhile, moved to the sidelines. After he served just three years in federal prison, the feds handed him a new identity, as Frazier Glenn Cross, helped him get set up in Missouri, and got him a job as a long-haul trucker, where he reveled in the open road. “Breaker, breaker one-nine,” he’d drawl over his CB radio during drives. “Any of you rednecks out there wanna chat with the Grand Dragon for a while?”
He kept busy on the frontiers of the internet, posting more than 12,000 messages on the racist and anti-Semitic Vanguard News Network website. He wrote there about speaking with and raising money for Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer and synagogue bomber executed by the state of Missouri in 2013. Miller kept up with other white-power leaders too, even corresponding with Kevin Harpham, who once tried to bomb a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane.
But in person, Miller was increasingly lonely and alone. For one thing, the long, violent road he had traveled began catching up with his family. He told people that at the age of 17, his youngest son, Michael Gunjer Miller, had firebombed a “Negro crack house,” in 1996. Actually, Mike tossed a Molotov cocktail into a trailer full of sleeping people, including a Black man and his white girlfriend. Mike Miller died two years later, just out of prison, in a car crash.
On his way to visit Mike’s grave, Jesse, another son, also crashed his car. When a bystander approached, Jesse killed him—nobody ever figured out why—and then got into a firefight with a police officer, who shot Jesse dead. By 2008, Mike and Jesse lay under matching gray tombstones, each bearing inscriptions that included the number 88, signifying “Heil Hitler” (“HH”).
As much as Miller wanted to become a player on the far right again, the movement had gone beyond him. He popped up as a freak-show guest on Howard Stern’s radio show in 2010, but VNN users flamed him as a traitor because of his plea deal. They mocked him for being all talk and no action, even dredging up an old story about the time police in North Carolina found him in his car with a Black transgender sex worker named Peaches. (If anyone asked about that, Miller explained he had a long history of driving around to beat up gay Black men.)