By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Mouse recalls everything that happened to him on August 13, 1995. He remembers getting off work at the Galaxy Club in Deep Ellum. He remembers getting on his bicycle, only to find one of the tires flat. He remembers hitching a ride to his apartment, opening the door, sleepily trying to bring his bike inside his bedroom.
Mouse also remembers getting stabbed 24 times that night, and he remembers who did it. He knew their faces, felt their knives and broken bottles plunge into his arms and his gut, and saw his blood pooling across his apartment floor.
Mouse remembers who did it because, he claims, the men who stabbed him used to be old running buddies of his back during the late 1980s when he was a white supremacist, one of Deep Ellum's infamous Confederate Hammerskins.
Mouse--his parents named him Paul Steven Millender 27 years ago--sits in a friend's East Dallas home now, more than six months after the incident, but still in recuperation. Sipping black coffee, he recounts everything about that night in detail. He is detached, as if he were recounting a television show. There is distance in his voice, not anger; forgiveness, not revenge.
Up until the stabbing, Millender was known among Deep Ellum regulars only as Mouse, the friendly tattooed guy who watched the doors at such clubs as the Galaxy Club, Trees, and the Orbit Room. For years, he was the walking embodiment of Deep Ellum's seedy, but proud, underside--a punk-rock "scenester" who could always be found walking the streets, checking out the bands, working the doors with a casual, sometimes cynical smile.
He was something of a folk hero in the neighborhood, liked by people he didn't even know. When he was stabbed, those knives and broken bottles struck a nerve in the hard-core Deep Ellum community: While he was recuperating, he received an outpouring of support he would never have expected or even imagined. Virtually every bar and coffee shop displayed a jar filled with change and dollar bills to help pay for Mouse's huge medical expenses; bands held benefit shows almost every weekend for a while, happily turning over their shares of the door takes to help out Mouse.
In truth, few people in Deep Ellum really knew Mouse. They didn't know that in the not-so-distant past, his life was dedicated to hatred. Eight years ago, Mouse was a white-supremacist Confederate Hammerskin, a member of the group of local men and women in their late teens and early 20s who whiled away their time terrorizing Jews, blacks, and gays. He was a bored, lost kid who picked fights and drank himself angry. It was the skinheads who gave Millender his nickname, "Mouse," because with his shaved head, protruding ears, pointed features, and wispy facial hair, he resembled a rodent.
To this day, Mouse says he doesn't regret his past as a hatemonger. But he doesn't look back on it fondly and he's got the jagged scars to remind him why. Eight months after the attack, the entire left side of his body--from his nipple to his hip--is numb because of nerve damage.
Now, he's a Mouse on the run, scampering from one hiding place to another. He doesn't want anyone to know where he is. Like a low-rent Salman Rushdie, he lives in fear of assassins and continually moves to a new place every few nights. He peeks out every so often, usually to venture to his beloved Deep Ellum. But this interview takes place in secret, so frightened is he that certain people might learn his whereabouts.
The men who stabbed him in August are still free. Mouse fears they want to finish the job they began last summer, cutting the life out of their old pal.
The U.S. Justice Department believed it had crushed the Confederate Hammerskins in 1988 and 1989, when virtually the entire group was arrested and several members were sent to federal penitentiaries. But the Hammerskins are still around. They merely crept back into the shadows, out of the government's reach and the media's spotlight. Since the trial that sent five of Mouse's old associates to prison, several Confederate Hammerskins chapters have thrived outside Dallas--in Birmingham, Alabama; Oklahoma City; and Marietta, Georgia. And they're still in Deep Ellum, silently growing in numbers once more, maybe dozens or more: In an organization that keeps no rolls and teaches deception, they don't know themselves.
Mouse is convinced his old comrades came looking for him last year to get even. Friends on the street, where Mouse is a well-connected man, tell him that the Confederate Hammerskins are seeking revenge, convinced Mouse helped send them to prison.
But Mouse swears he is not a rat.
He says court records prove he did not testify against his friends during their federal trials for violating the civil rights of several Dallas citizens whom they harassed and threatened. In an attempt to prove his righteousness to this circle of hatemongers, Mouse has declined to testify against the men arrested on charges of attempting to murder him, forcing prosecutors to release the indicted men. Mouse says he will see to it that the people who slashed and stabbed him never stand trial.
"They were my family for many years," he now says. "That's kinda why it hurts for what happened to me because I still consider those guys my friends. I'm not going to be well-liked for this, and I'm not going to be very popular, but I still don't have any remorse or regret for having been with those guys because most of them are really, really nice. I just want them to leave me alone."
Still, he hides. Just in case.
Paul Millender does not ask for forgiveness for his past sins. He does not regret his days as a Confederate Hammerskin or even say they were a mistake. He explains merely that it was who he was back then--a troubled young man looking for a home, a punk-rock rebel with a mohawk and without a clue. A follower.
Ask him now, and he says he might have even been a Mormon had they come calling instead of the skinheads. Except the Mormon missionaries don't hang out around the skateboard parks and don't offer unlimited supplies of beer and a place to live.
Millender was born and raised in Irving. His mother and father divorced when he was a young boy, and he says his father became a "religious fanatic." Millender felt something was missing in his life, and he needed something to fill in the gaps of a broken home.
He says he first ran away from home when he was 13, and he stayed away for about a year--living at friends' houses, eating out of McDonald's dumpsters ("They always throw away really good burgers"), and hanging out at skate parks. He would occasionally attend school, but he preferred to drink and skate and listen to new-wave music like the B-52's, Devo, and Adam and the Ants--tame stuff for a young rebel. For a time, he lived underneath the Bachman Skate Ramp with a couple of friends who would later turn him on to the skinhead movement.
"My mom worried," Mouse says. "She begged me to come back, but I was not ready at the time. I learned when you're 13 it's hard to make it on your own. You go and hang out with friends, and that's basically what you do."
He returned home but left again when he was 17. By that time, he was into punk rock, sporting a mohawk, and hanging out at clubs like the Twilight Room and the Theater Gallery, early punk venues in and around Deep Ellum. The punks and the skinheads hung out at the clubs, and there existed a tenuous harmony between the punks and the skins and the suburban kids who made their weekend sojourns downtown.
Mouse says he first hooked up with the skinheads at the Twilight Room, where skate pals introduced him to a new way of thinking. At first, he says, they offered him a place to live, free food, and instant friendship. It was a "sweet deal" too good to pass up.
"It was like, 'Hey, we always got a place for you to hang out if you want,'" Mouse says of his initial introduction. "I didn't really think much of it. It was fun, but it's the reason a lot of these kids get in gangs. It's almost like a family unit kind of thing. They bring us in and say, 'We'll take care of you,' and it's nice because you miss your family, so you've got this family unit that sticks together, no matter what."
But, subtly, his new family unit became more and more motivated by hate. Mouse says he does not know how or why, but his friends--his family, as it were--began griping about how Jews controlled everything, and that blacks were trying to destroy the white race. They would drink and become restless, go downtown and start fights with the punks, make racist fliers and tack them up on walls and telephone poles, then talk about white pride till they turned red. They even read passages from the Bible, twisting the words into a call to arms.
In retrospect, Mouse believes the racial ideology was introduced to the group by a member of the local Ku Klux Klan who ran something called "The Rescue Team, or something like that." As his friends started getting into anti-Semitic and racist beliefs, Mouse followed.
"They get a lot of kids that way--a lot of kids from dysfunctional families, a lot of these kids who have no direction," he explains. "They seek them out and give them this option, and they say, 'You don't have to believe in what we believe in,' but pretty soon they're giving you literature to read, and you start believing it."
They found fertile soil in Mouse. "I've always had...I don't know if you'd call it racist views, but I do have some racist in me, but I can't help that.
"I just went along with it, and, at some point, I did believe a lot of what they said. They used a lot of quotes from the Bible, but any religious organization--any organization, period--can twist the Bible to mean what they want it to mean. The Black Panthers do it, the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] does it with their little almanac or whatever they have, so at some point you're like, 'This makes sense, we are doing the right thing. The White Pride thing, the whole deal, this is the right thing to do.'"
According to testimony presented before a federal jury in 1990, the Confederate Hammerskins, which came into being around 1987 or 1988, had no formal leaders, though a few people claimed to be the organization's founders. There was nothing formal about the group, nothing to bind it, except hatred and the devout belief that white Christians would someday again rule a nation that had fallen into the hands of blacks, Jews, Mexicans, and other so-called inferior races.
The Confederate Hammerskins set up housekeeping in a house in Garland on Nash Street that became known as The Nash House. They held meetings every Friday night, welcomed in any stray dogs with offers of shelter and comfort, and held mixers, of sorts, with visiting skinheads from around the country. "It was like belonging to a big club," Mouse says. A fraternity house for skinheads.
During the summer of 1988, several members of the local Confederate Hammerskins traveled to Oklahoma for one of the White Power movement's Aryan Fests, annual gatherings of skins, Klansmen, Aryans, and other white separatists and supremacists from around the country. White Power leaders spoke at the gathering--preaching the gospel of white pride, denouncing race-mixing, and promising to reclaim their land.
At that meeting, several of the Confederate Hammerskins were particularly taken with a speech by Tom Metzger, the California-based leader of the White Aryan Resistance and one of the linchpins of the white-separatist movement. According to several of the skinheads in attendance that summer, Metzger delivered a fiery speech encouraging skinhead participation in a movement that would lead to the liberation of white, Christian America.
Skinheads, Metzger said, would be the "foot soldiers" of the White Power movement, and they would lead the march to victory.
In the late 1980s, the Confederate Hammerskins ruled Deep Ellum with fists and bald heads--at least this was the portrait of violence painted by the local papers and nightclub owners who desperately sought police help.
And indeed, they often wreaked havoc in such nightclubs as the Theater Gallery, the Twilight Room, and the Honest Place. They went to those clubs in large groups, about 10 to 20 people at a time, looking to start fights and usually succeeding. They intimidated club patrons, frightened club owners, and frustrated Dallas police. During 1987 and 1988, when Deep Ellum was taking its baby steps as a club scene and haven for struggling musicians and artists, The Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald portrayed the area as a war zone.
"In the last three months," the Morning News reported in May 1987, "105 criminal incidents were reported in an area estimated to have 35 to 100 residents." The following year, the paper relented somewhat, running the headline, "Nightlife abounds in area despite 'skinhead' aggression."
Jeff Liles, who ran the Theater Gallery with partner and friend Russell Hobbs during Deep Ellum's early days as a burgeoning Boho asylum, recalls skinheads would occasionally show up for punk shows and start fights. But he dismisses them, in retrospect, as a nuisance more than anything else.
"They hadn't taken over the whole area," Liles says. "They were like a roving tumor. It was like, 'Aw, fuck, there's the skinheads again.' I wasn't scared of them. They were cowards more than anything else."
Though Mouse would later depend on Deep Ellum's nightclubs for work, he recalls that he and his Confederate Hammerskins pals would pile into vans and trucks and go to shows and pick fights, then head to Lee Park near Turtle Creek to chase blacks and gays off the property--their property, the Hammerskins believed, so named for their beloved Civil War hero Robert E. Lee, whose controversial statue towers above the park.
"We would go out and start fights out of boredom, because, first of all, we were on alcohol, and second, there was absolutely nothing else to do," Mouse recalls. "So going down to Cedar Springs to the Confederate Park, or whatever it was, and chasing all the gay people out of there was the thing to do--'Aw, that's our park. That's Robert E. Lee Park, and we can't have that.'
"I'm not proud we went and chased gays out of a park. We've all done things we're not proud of, but we also don't regret it. I think it was an important time of what I did, and I did it."
But by the summer of 1988, the beer-and-boredom-driven mischief was getting out of control. That July, a brawl between the Confederate Hammerskins, other so-called independent skins, and a few Deep Ellum patrons escalated into a shooting.
According to police reports and court testimony, a group of Confederate Hammerskins went down to the now-defunct Honest Place on Commerce Street to see a show by the U.K. Subs, a British punk band that, ironically, stood for everything to which the skins were opposed. But the music was loud and angry and the lyrics spoke of racism and gangs.
That night at the Honest Place, a fight erupted, according to police reports, when a Confederate skin jumped out of a van that contained 11 other Confederates and told one of the independent skins to take off his boots, which he refused to do. When a scuffle broke out, club owner Greg Winslow pulled out a .22-caliber rifle and fired nine shots toward the van.
One shot hit Amy Mecum, a member of the Confederate Hammerskins, in the head, though she was not seriously hurt. Three of her comrades were arrested and charged with assault, though they were later released.
"After that, we vowed justice," Mouse says. "Of course, it was a lot of big talk, because, as far as I know, no one really did anything."
The Confederates soon had other things to worry about that made vengeance a trifle. In the fall of 1988, police clamped down on the skins, ultimately arresting almost every member of the Confederate Hammerskins.
Beginning in late 1987, hate crimes rapidly increased around Dallas. During the Thanksgiving holiday in 1987, two men burst into Temple Shalom in North Dallas and briefly disrupted prayer services; shortly after that, an Israeli flag was burned on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center on Northhaven Road; then, a Jewish-owned business in Richardson was covered in anti-Semitic graffiti.
In July 1988, Confederate Hammerskins stepped up their terrorizing of blacks and gays in Lee Park. Though they claimed they were there only to "patrol" the park and put up fliers after the NAACP moved to get the Park's name changed, several members of the group testified in 1990 that they threatened and ran off "undesirables." One African-American man testified he was attacked by the skinheads.
Mouse was among the Confederate Hammerskins who patrolled the park. In a 1990 trial, during which five of his running buddies were convicted of federal civil-rights violations, a photo was entered into evidence that showed Mouse and 20 of the Confederate Hammerskins standing around the statue of Robert E. Lee. As part his deal with the Feds, Mouse confirmed that he was part of the Lee Park incidents.
Then, in September and October 1988, several area houses of worship--including Temple Shalom, the Jewish Community Center, and a Richardson mosque owned and operated by the Islamic Association of North Texas--were vandalized by members of the group. Each building was spray-painted with swastikas and slogans: "Christian Whites Will Conquer." "Hitler Was Right." "Gas The Jews." At Temple Shalom, some windows were shot out.
On October 19, 1988, police arrested Daniel Alvis Wood, who said he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and not the Confederate Hammerskins, in connection with the desecrations. (When he was convicted and sentenced two years later, Wood stood up in the courtroom and gave the Nazi Sieg heil.) A week later, on October 25, 1988, Dallas police arrested 20 Confederate Hammerskins in Deep Ellum on various charges ranging from possession of fireworks to possession of a concealed weapon. The authorities had decided to crush skinhead violence, one way or another.
A handful of the skins would try to repeat their actions on November 9, 1988--the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night Germans looted and destroyed Jewish businesses, signalling the beginning of the Holocaust--but were stopped by police who had the skins' Garland headquarters under surveillance.
In the end, many of the skinheads, including Mouse, pled guilty to lesser federal misdemeanor civil-rights violations in conjunction with the Lee Park incidents. In exchange for more lenient sentences--many of the skins were 17 years old and punished as minors, though they were eligible to be tried as adults--about a dozen of the Confederate Hammerskins took the stand against five comrades who stood trial on federal conspiracy charges.
But not Mouse, though he was expected to.
As part of his plea bargain with Department of Justice prosecutors, he pled guilty to a lesser charge of "aiding and abetting to intimidate and interfere by force or threat of force a person because of his race or color." According to federal court documents, Mouse signed a confession that stated he and "numerous other Confederate Hammerskins went to Robert E. Lee Park during the summer months of 1988...with the intent of intimidating black persons who might be in the park."
Mouse, according to his plea bargain, agreed to "cooperate fully in the investigation of violence and vandalism against minorities in the Dallas area during 1988 by members of the Confederate Hammerskins by providing complete, truthful, and accurate information." The conditions of his probation were that he would be prohibited from carrying a firearm, he would have to participate in an alcohol-treatment program, and he would have to stay in a community treatment center in Hutchins, Texas, for 120 days.
According to court documents, Mouse did tesfity before the federal grand jury in July 1988. But exactly what he said is unknown because grand-jury testimony is secret under the law.
But when the Hammerskins' trial began in February 1990, Mouse was never called to the witness stand. According to a source close to the trial, the prosecution didn't call Mouse simply because he wasn't as good a witness as the other men and women who testified during the trial--former Confederate Hammerskins who had denounced their pasts, who had turned against their brothers in exchange for good plea deals. In the end, the source says, Mouse's testimony simply wasn't necessary to get the convictions.
On May 2, 1990, Sean Tarrant, Christopher Greer, Jon Jordan, Michael Lawrence, and Daniel Wood--whose ages ranged between 19 and 25--were convicted on conspiracy charges, and, in April 1990, they were each sentenced to federal-prison terms of at least four years. Greer, released last summer, is the only one out of prison so far.
Two days before the five were sentenced, Mouse and two other skins who also pled guilty were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders to three years' probation, though they each could have received a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for their activities.
"You had two choices," Mouse says, insisting he never sold his pals out to the Feds. "You could either go down, or you could squeal and get some kind of deal. I chose to keep my mouth shut. I really didn't know anything. That organization had a little saying, which was, 'Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing,' and that's basically the way it was."
Mouse ended up spending a year in a work-release program near Seagoville, a halfway house for cons released from federal prison whose inmates would tend to the fields and go to their day jobs under supervision. When he was released in 1990--still on probation--Mouse returned to Deep Ellum.
He disavowed his days as a Confederate skinhead, he says, and he told his remaining comrades in the organization that he was finished with them. He wanted out, he says, because the group had become more violent and was in contact with right-wing militia organizations. There also was the specter of getting popped for a probation violation and having to do hard time in a federal penitentiary. Mouse was scared straight--but had to walk a thin line with his white-supremacist pals.
"I was like, 'Well, I'm not going to rat on anyone else, but I'm not going to be a part of it anymore,'" he says, sipping the coffee that has replaced alcohol in his life. "I told them up front, 'This isn't my gig anymore, this isn't for me. I'm out.' And they said, 'OK.' I thought that was it."
Denny Doran, a local photographer and painter who has become one of Mouse's closest friends during the past year, says he and Mouse often talk about Mouse's desertion from the Confederate Hammerskins. Doran was never a skinhead ("I'm what most skinheads would call a nigger-lover," he says), but never begrudged Mouse's past, because, as far as he was concerned, it was a window that had long since shut.
"I think Mouse arrived at a moment in his life where he had a spiritual awakening and he extracted himself from that scene," Doran says. "He was clear about who he was. I don't think he regretted the past, because it's not a powerful relation to the past, and he's a powerful man. Regret's a waste of time."
From 1991 through 1993, Mouse worked and lived at Tigger's tattoo parlor on Commerce Street. He became a scenester again, but this time fighting wasn't his reason to go to clubs. Instead, he became friends with the musicians and learned how to operate their sound gear. Pretty soon, he was a common sight in Deep Ellum--as much a part of the landscape as the clubs and restaurants themselves.
He got jobs working at Trees and the Orbit Room and the Galaxy Club as a doorman--a bouncer--but also as a utility infielder. He would help bands load in and set up before shows and then break down after gigs; he would make sure the sound was right, and provide the bands with any extra amenities they needed before going on.
"I had seen him around as a scenester, and other people introduced him to me and said good things about him," says Kent Wyatt, owner of the Galaxy Club. About two years ago, Wyatt, who had no idea of Mouse's skinhead past, hired him. Most of Deep Ellum never knew Mouse's unsavory past, and only became aware of it after he was attacked.
One of his duties as a club doorman was to keep the crowds in line. Every so often, a Hammerskin, or several, would show up drunk and ready to fight--just like the old days. But this new Mouse would have to keep them cool, tell them not to start any shit in his place. He didn't want them screwing up his job or messing with his friends.
Some in Deep Ellum have linked Mouse's stabbing with a club incident last summer, just days before the attack. That night, several skins came to the Galaxy for a concert by the seminal L.A. punk band Fear (sample lyric: "New York's all right if you're a homosexual") and were, as usual, drunk and pissed-off. Mouse wouldn't tolerate their behavior. Pushing and shoving, he hustled them out of the club.
And, despite Mouse's avowed neutrality toward the Hammerskins, he may have irritated them even more directly. A good friend of Mouse--who asks that his name not be used, since he often runs into the skins and maintains good relations with them--says Mouse helped bring young would-be Nazis and skinheads to "the other side," away from the racist lifestyle.
When he first met Mouse in 1991, this friend says he himself was struggling to escape the skinheads and a drug addiction. In Mouse, he found a sympathetic soul, a man just as tortured by demons that still lingered.
"When I met Mouse, I bonded with him," says the friend. "He was like me as far as his thinking. We were both trying to get sober. When I moved to Dallas, I still wasn't sure what I wanted. I was still into it, still hanging my flags and saying all the same shit, calling people 'nigger' and shit. I didn't know which direction to go, but Mouse was kind of the thing that brought me over to the other side.
"He was my way away from that lifestyle."
At first, Mouse thought he was being mugged. It was about 3 a.m., and he was entering his Haskell Avenue apartment after a long night at the Galaxy. He had gone into the apartment to put away his backpack, then returned outside to fetch his bicycle. It was then that someone tried to crack his skull with a blackjack.
But Mouse was wearing his trademark cowboy hat that bears an "REO Speedealer" logo and other innocuous slogans, and the blackjack glanced off the brim. Then he felt someone starting to punch him--at least, that's what he thought.
Thoughts started racing through his head: "Aw, fuck, I'm getting robbed by a bunch of the East Side Loco guys." But they knew Mouse and liked him, even gave him nicknames like "Big Red" back when Mouse dyed his hair. No way this was them, he thought, no way.
As Mouse recalls it, his attackers punched him repeatedly as he struggled, and threw empty Budweiser bottles at him that he blocked with his hands. He could feel their fists--or what he thought were their fists--digging into his kidneys and lungs. He felt the fire of repeated blows to the left side of his body.
And he struggled long enough to get a look at his attackers--long enough, he claims, to recognize his old friends.
Finally, he broke free and crawled back into his apartment. He shut the door and struggled to get into a back room. He thought maybe he could escape out the back door when he heard a car or maybe a truck screech out of the parking lot. "Maybe that was it," he hoped and prayed.
But then he looked back and saw the trail of blood that stretched from the front door to the back room, a grisly scene captured in photos a friend took the next day. The blood was so thick it was almost black.
"That's when I knew they had been stabbing me all along--and not punching me, and I flipped out," Mouse recalls with vague detachment. "My mind just kind of went wild: 'I'm stabbed. Aw, fuck, what do I do now?'"
He crawled outside again--without even looking to see if his attackers were waiting to finish the job--and made it to a next-door neighbor's apartment. The neighbor called for an ambulance, and when it arrived, Mouse was passed out in the driveway, drenched in his own gore.
In the ambulance on the way to Baylor University Medical Center, Mouse recalls, he could hear the paramedics talking to the hospital over the radio. They said he had lost a lot of blood and probably wouldn't survive. He remembers yelling that he was still alive and that he was going to make it.
"I woke up in the hospital, and a day had passed," he says. "All that time they were doing surgery, I must have been out. They said I was pretty much on the verge of death the whole time--either on the verge of death or had already died and come back. They were like, 'Man, you've got a strong will to live,' but I've always had a strong will to live."
In the following weeks, almost every Deep Ellum club held at least one benefit to help Mouse pay his medical bills, for which he had no insurance.
"That really amazed me," he says now of the bands and club owners that helped him. "I couldn't believe I had that many supporters and people that would actually band together and put their differences aside for something like that. It just made me feel so...I don't know...so incredibly happy."
In September, Mouse picked two suspects out of two separate police photo lineups. They were charged with attempted murder. Shortly after that, he testified before a grand jury, and both men were indicted.
One of the men had a history of skinhead-related violence. In 1991, he had been sentenced to eight years in the Texas Department of Corrections for assaulting another man with a metal pipe during a fight that broke out at a skinhead party. Though he pled guilty to the charges, he was released from TDC inOctober 1992, after having served a little more than a year in prison. The other man indicted for attempting to murder Mouse also had a record, though he had only been convicted of misdemeanor trespassing.
According to the defendants' lawyer, Andy Konradi, one man said he knew the Confederate Hammerskins but was not actually a member; the other claimed the organization had long since disbanded, though he was also an active participant in the skinhead movement.
"But our position was he [Mouse] was mistaken about who did it," Konradi says of his prepared defense. "We had enough people who would testify to the whereabouts of both these individuals on the night and time this happened. Apparently, Mouse knew these people since a very young age, and he identified them from a photo lineup, even though the attack was over in a matter of seconds in an unlit parking lot."
The two men were preparing to go to trial in February of this year in Criminal District Judge John Creuzot's court when, suddenly and without warning, Mouse refused to testify. The only reason Mouse offers is that he wanted no further trouble from the two men, and he feared prosecuting them might exacerbate the situation.
According to Konradi, Mouse was "very disagreeable" with Assistant District Attorney Tammy Kemp, the prosecutor heading up the case for the Dallas County District Attorney's office. Konradi says Kemp, who did not return calls for this article, tried to contact Millender several times to convince him to testify, but she was never able to reach him.
Finally, Konradi says, Kemp left Millender a phone message asking him to call Konradi about providing a nonprosecution affidavit, but Mouse never returned the message. "She was very disappointed," Konradi says. His clients likely will never stand trial.
Most of Mouse's friends say they wish he had testified against the men he claims stabbed him, but they also understand why he did not. He long thought he had closed the chapter of his life that included the Confederate Hammerskins, only to have it reopened with the edge of a blade.
But Mouse's tribulations may not be over yet. Though there have been no reports of violence against any of the former skinheads who testified during the federal civil-rights trial, a source at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., says the FBI likely will look into Mouse's stabbing on the grounds that it may have been retaliation and an obstruction of justice. But the source admits the investigation won't go far without Mouse's cooperation.
Mouse just wants to be left alone, to disappear.
"What happened makes me more sad, actually, than angry," he says. "These people I used to run with--that I thought were my friends, that I thought were almost my brothers and sisters--they did stab me in the back. Multiple times. And it just hurts. I don't run with those people anymore, and I don't have anything to do with them anymore, but why couldn't they just leave me alone and let me do my own thing and they do theirs? I have no grudge against them."
At the end of the interview, Mouse jokes that maybe he'll change his name so his old friends can't find him anymore. Maybe he'll take a Jewish name, maybe a black one--"Leroy Rabinowitz," he says, something with kosher soul. He laughs, but make no mistake--Mouse is a scared man, on the run from a violent past that just may catch up with him.