A member of a white supremacist prison gang has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for trying to kill another man with a hidden shiv while in a holding cell last July.
Before his sentence was imposed Tuesday, Lance Vanderstappen repeated that he hid the blade in his rectum with the specific intent of killing someone who was an ethnic minority.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Felice Viti called the stabbing, which sent a Hispanic man to the hospital with stab wounds to his neck, throat and chest, a "ferocious crime."
"It was not impulse, it was not provoked," Viti said. "He came here to kill someone that day."
U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart asked Vanderstappen had he been allowed to use the restroom before he was sentenced last July, would he have used the weapon on court staff. The 26-year-old prison inmate said only that he was out to kill a minority.
"I was looking for an opportunity to target someone of another race," Vanderstappen said.
U.S. marshals said the incident took place July 12, just after Vanderstappen was sentenced to serve more than five years for a violence and racketeering conviction. Shortly after being led into a holding cell with other federal inmates, a video shows Vanderstappen going to a semi-private restroom area and returning with a shiv, which he used to attack a Hispanic man, whose back was turned toward him.
Stewart reviewed the surveillance video in court before imposing the sentence.
Viti called Vanderstappen a "cold-blooded and dangerous individual" who at the age of 26 had already been convicted of two other violent crimes, including stabbing a Utah State Prison inmate in January 2001. Viti said Vanderstappen had violated the law by the time he was 10 years old.
"He's put the community at risk by his behavior for most of the last 16 years. It's time to give up and simply remove him as a source of risk for the next 25 years," Viti said.
Vanderstappen declined to say anything in his defense. Stewart ordered the new 20-year sentence to run consecutively with his previous five-year sentence, meaning Vanderstappen will be more than 50 years of age before he is released from prison.
Viti said one irony was that on the day of the stabbing, it was Vanderstappen's birthday, adding that while most people take the day to reflect on their life, he felt Vanderstappen was already committed to ruining his.
"Justice was served," Viti said outside of federal court.
Vanderstappen is just one of about a dozen members of the Soldiers of Aryan Culture who have been indicted under the federal racketeering statute in an effort by state prison and federal officials to break up the gang that has been a source of violent attacks and drug dealing within Utah's penal system. So far, eight members have pleaded guilty as part of plea agreements.