Prosecutors: Ohio man wanted to start race war

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A man who stockpiled weapons and ammunition at a shopping mall storage room was preparing to start a race war and planned to carry out assassinations based on race, religion and ethnicity, federal prosecutors said.

Richard Schmidt, who pleaded guilty to possession of firearms and trafficking in counterfeit goods in July, is due to be sentenced next month.

He was "a one-man army of racial and religious hate," prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed last week in federal court. Schmidt's attorney disputed the accusations, calling them "over-the-top."

Prosecutors charged Schmidt nearly a year ago after finding rifles, shotguns and 40,000 rounds of ammunition inside the mall where he ran a sports memorabilia store in Bowling Green, about 20 miles south of Toledo.

The FBI told black and Jewish leaders in the Detroit area that their names were on a list kept by Schmidt. The head of a Jewish organization in Detroit said there was a notebook that listed his group and its leaders, but he said it wasn't a specific hit list.

Schmidt, 48, kept his weapons, ammunition, body armor, writings, and a cot inside a storage room at the back of an empty store in the mall, prosecutors said in documents filed last week that called for a sentence of at least 10 years.

Among the 18 weapons prosecutors said were found: seven rifles that could accept high-capacity magazines, a rifle favored by the military for its use as a sniper rifle and six handguns.

Investigators also searched trailers he kept in the mall parking lot. "These trailers were filled with gas canisters, gun parts, and other supplies he felt he would need once he started carrying out his written plans," wrote assistant U.S. Attorney Duncan Brown.

Defense attorney Ed Bryan said that Schmidt adamantly denies he had any sinister motives.

Schmidt's store at the mall sold counterfeit clothing marked with brand names such as the National Football League, Nike and Reebok, and he used the profits to stockpile weapons and ammunition, prosecutors said.

Schmidt earlier had served time for a 1990 manslaughter conviction for killing a man in Toledo.

"It is clear that the defendant has not distanced himself from his violent past, if anything he used the proceeds from his business to further fund his violent goals," the court document said.