A Tennessee man has reportedly told on himself and his white supremacist views in an intercepted letter addressed to an extremist "Christian Identity" group. In March, John Daniel Carothers was suspected of a targeted murder after burning 40-year-old Robert Miller alive. Now, prosecutors have reportedly found the evidence to support the claim that the heinous act was a hate crime. 

According to the Murfreesboro Report, prosecutors read the disturbing letter from John Daniel Carothers in court, leading the judge to find probable cause to bind the charges against Carothers to the next session of the grand jury. The letter was addressed to Kingdom Identity Ministries, "the largest supplier in existence of materials related to Christian Identity, a radical-right theology that generally identifies people of color as soulless sub-humans and Jews as satanic or cursed by God," the Southern Poverty Law Center website reads. 

“To my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ our savior and Lord, My name is John D. Carothers, and I believe the Bible is about white people and for white people,” Carothers wrote in the letter. “I am in Rutherford County Jail for burning a black man. I set him on fire with lighter fluid poured on his head.” 

While there is not a specific hate crime law in Tennessee, Assistant District Attorney General J. Paul Newman expressed consideration in pursuing the matter as a hate crime enhancement dependent upon whether Carothers is found guilty at trial. Ultimately, harsher sentencing would ensue.

“It saddens me that someone may be thinking that way,” Newman said of the letter. “It makes me realize I have a responsibility to pursue this case with great vigor and to make sure this is punished and this type of act is discouraged. Of course, he’s presumed to be innocent, but if he is found guilty … the state will seek to use (the letter) in the sentencing phase.”

Witnesses of the March murder said Miller was burning and ran to a shower in a bathroom in the back of the house where he put out the flames before going to the street and waiting for an ambulance to arrive. An autopsy showed Miller died from burns to his upper torso and head, Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Carl Peas testified.

Carothers is currently in county jail, where, thanks in part to his handwritten letter, he has been found competent to stand trial where a grand jury will determine his fate. 

News Channel 5 reports that while local prosecutors are currently handling the case,  the U.S. Justice Department could intervene, if needed, as the U.S. Attorney can prosecute hate crimes. 

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