Mother of man among 7 charged with hate crimes says they're not white supremacists



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The FBI charged seven people with hate crimes in Osceola County, authorities said on Monday.

Marcus Faella, 39, and Patricia Faella, 36, were taken into custody on Friday, but have since bonded out.

The other five who were arrested were identified as Paul Willard Jackson, 25, Kent Ryan Mclellan, 22, Diane Stephanie Stevens, 28, Mark McGowan Jr., 29, and Jennifer McGowan, 25.

The arrests were made following an investigation into a militia-styled group called American Front (AF), which is an anti-Semitic, white supremacist organization that is known as a domestic terrorist organization, authorities said.

"This investigation is a result of our ongoing partnership with local law enforcement and federal agencies in a concentrated effort to stamp out hate crime in our community. The Ninth Circuit State Attorney will review the investigation and will file the appropriate criminal charges," said State Attorney Lawson Lamar.

Investigators said that each person was arrested on the following charges: Paramilitary training, teaching and demonstrating to other persons the use, application or making of a firearm, techniques capable of causing injury or death to persons, attempt to shoot into an occupied dwelling and evidence of prejudices, while committing an offense.

Mark McGowan Jr.'s mother, Norma Black, spoke with WFTV reporter Nancy Alvarez about a wooded area in St. Cloud that she said was a meeting place for bonfires and target practice.

"What did they do out there on that property?" asked Alvarez.

"They just go out there to have fun," said Black.

During the interview, Black insisted her son was not violent, but admitted he shares her views about minorities.

"I don't like illegals and I don't like these troublesome blacks," said Black.

"Is your son a white supremacist?" Alvarez asked.

"No, none of them are," said Black. "They don't belong to any group, its just friends having fun."

The AF's group's leader was killed in California last year, and since then, much of the group's operation has moved to Florida, according to the Southern Poverty Law Group. 

The agency tracks hate crimes across the country and now it said it has seven more faces on its radar.

WFTV found out that there are more than 1,000 known hate groups across the U.S.

Fifty-five of the groups are in Florida and 13 of them are in Central Florida.