Men suspected in white supremacist plot deemed danger to the community

Ronald Beasley Chaney III, Robert Doyle and Charles Halderman

RICHMOND, Va. — Two of the three men accused in a plot to bomb black churches and synagogues, rob an armored car and kill a jewelry dealer were denied bond Thursday. United States District Court Judge Roderick Young found Robert Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney III, 33, a danger to the community and ordered them to remain in custody pending their next hearing. A third suspect, Charles Halderman, is scheduled to go before the judge on Friday.

Ronald Beasley Chaney III, Robert Doyle and Charles Halderman

Chaney’s family declined to comment on the charges outside of court.

The men were at the center of an FBI investigation that alleged the trio were plotting the crimes to incite a race war.

During Thursday’s hearing, it was revealed someone tipped off the FBI about the plan. When the FBI learned Doyle contacted a silver broker on Craigslist, the FBI took over account and learned more about the group’s plan. Attorneys for Doyle and Chaney seemed to indicate the FBI kept encouraging the men to move ahead with the plot.

“I’m sure the defense is going to be looking at a potential entrapment defense,” CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said.

The men seemed in interested in buying multiple silencers and had four bullet proof vests between the two of them, prosecutors said.

Specifics about the plot were not discussed during Thursday’s hearing. The next step will be a grand jury hearing on December 1. There, new charges could be filed. So far the pair have only been charged with trying to get access to guns after being convicted of a felony.

“When they go to the grand jury, the law enforcement officers go into a secret room and explain the case and issue indictments,” Stone explained.

Police, federal agents raid homes in Chesterfield, Highland Springs

The men were arrested Sunday following a coordinated raid of one home on Candlelamp Lane in Chesterfield and another on East Jerald Street in Highland Springs. Officers and agents wearing jackets with FBI and ATF on the back were seen bringing evidence boxes out of the Henrico home, according to neighbors. They said investigators were rifling through vehicles parked in the driveway.

“There was a bunch of police cars out there,” Willie Solomon, who lives near the Highland Springs home, said. “They had AR’s. I think I counted seven Suburbans with blacked out windows, cop cars. It was heavy duty.”

“They were just completely going in heavy duty like military style it was nuts,” Nick Murphy, who lives near the Chesterfield home, said about Sunday’s raid.

FBI documents allege the suspects held a white supremacist meeting inside the Candlelamp Lane home in late September. The home belonged to Doyle and court paperwork also reported 30 rounds of ammunition were found in Doyle’s truck. According to court records, Doyle has a lengthy criminal history including embezzlement, distribution of marijuana, and grand larceny.

“He’s a sweet guy”

Ronald Beasley Chaney III’s former girlfriend said she was shocked to learn about his arrest.

“He’s a sweet guy, like, I would’ve never really thought of this at all,” Kristi Leigh said. “We all had a good time. We were always happy.”

Ronald Beasley Chaney III's former girlfriend said she was shocked to learn about his arrest.

Ronald Beasley Chaney III’s former girlfriend said she was shocked to learn about his arrest.

Leigh said she met Chaney earlier this year and that he was trying to turn his life around, working as an electrician. She called Chaney a respectable person who showed no sign of racial hatred. She added her brother-in-law is black, and Chaney never had an issue. She said she never heard Chaney discuss the other suspects arrested in this case.

“I don’t know who they are,” Leigh said. “I didn’t even know their names. And he would tell me names about everybody, but I’ve never heard of their names.

She said they ended their relationship two weeks ago.

Criminal Pasts

Chaney was released from prison in March, after serving eight years on a 10-year prison sentence. He was sentenced in April 2007 for a June 2006 crime in which he was charged with Malicious Wounding and Use In Commission Of Felony.

Doyle was found guilty of Grand Larceny in Henrico and Embezzlement in Chesterfield in 2007.

Halderman was convicted on various Grand Larceny charges between 2004 and 2011.