Brutal Racist Skinhead Assault in Philadelphia Results in Victim’s Blinding » ADL Blogs
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June 7, 2012

Brutal Racist Skinhead Assault in Philadelphia Results in Victim’s Blinding

Update — 2/22/16: A judge sentenced Stephen Masten to 41 ½ to 83 years in prison after he was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy, and burglary charges. Co-defendant Frank Casiano was sentenced in July 2015 to 20 to 40 years after pleading guilty to aggravated assault, conspiracy, and burglary charges for his role in the attack.

Racist skinheads have a long track record of brutal and vicious assaults and murders in the United States. Usually, they direct their extreme violence at perceived “enemies,” such as ethnic or religious minorities, members of the GLBT community, or anti-racist activists.

However, the racist skinhead subculture is an inherently violent one. When they have a mind to, racist skinheads can be just as brutal towards their own, as a recent shocking attack in northeast Philadelphia graphically demonstrated.

According to police reports, the attack occurred on May 6, 2012, when a racist skinhead, David Phillips, 43, was assaulted by two fellow white supremacists, Stephen Masten, 29, and Frank Casiano, 28, who allegedly kicked in the door to Phillips’ home and began beating him with sticks and a blackjack while threatening to kill him.

The police report states that the assailants repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed Phillips—but that was not all. According to the victim, Masten tried to smother Phillips with a pillow, then gouged out the victim’s eyes with his bare hands, ripping them from their sockets. Phillips suffered multiple stab wounds and lacerations on his face and head, as well as broken eye sockets, and was permanently blinded by the assault. He remains hospitalized.

During the initial investigation, Phillips told police that the perpetrators were white supremacist comrades of his, while a fourth white supremacist who witnessed part of the assault allegedly identified the attackers as Masten and Casiano. The witness claimed the violent assault was an act of retaliation against Phillips because of a prior incident involving Phillips and Masten’s girlfriend while Masten was incarcerated on theft charges. Masten left prison on parole about two weeks prior to the assault.

A few days after the assault, Joshua Steever, founder of the small racist skinhead crew Aryan Terror Brigade (ATB) and currently living in New Jersey, began posting about the attack on the ATB’s on-line forum. Identifying Phillips as ATB’s Pennsylvania state representative, Steever asked forum members to donate money to help with his recovery.

Police arrested the two suspects on May 22, 2012, charging them with attempted murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit murder, burglary, criminal trespassing, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, making terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, simple assault, reckless endangerment to another person, and criminal mischief.

Masten and Casiano remain incarcerated with bail set at $3 million and $1 million, respectively. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 12, 2012.