A 45-year-old Garden Grove woman who prosecutors say was a ringleader in a white supremacist gang pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping and assaulting a man she blamed for her car being impounded.
Ruthie Christine Marshall is expected to be sentenced in March to 20 years in prison as part of a plea agreement, Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue said.
The agreement averts a retrial for Marshall, whose first trial ended in a hung jury. She pleaded guilty to kidnapping, extortion and aggravated assault and also admitted a sentencing enhancement for gang activity .
Marshall was the first defendant to go on trial as a result of “Operation Stormfront,” an investigation that led to the arrest of about 50 alleged members of white supremacist prison and street gangs in Orange County. A mistrial was declared when jurors failed to reach a verdict, splitting 11-1 in favor of guilt.
Her husband, Wayne Marshall, who was also charged in connection with Operation Stormfront and is an alleged “shot caller” in a gang, is awaiting trial. He is accused of running the gang from an Orange County jail while waiting for trial in a series of robberies, according to prosecutors.
As part of Operation Stormfront, Orange County sheriff’s deputies and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators working undercover infiltrated white supremacist gangs including Public Enemy Number One, or PEN1, and the Aryan Brotherhood.
In Ruthie Marshall’s case, prosecutors alleged she was angry that police impounded her car after a friend borrowed it without her permission. She and another defendant, Jeffrey Peek, allegedly lured the friend in July 2010 to a motel, where he was beaten and told to cough up the impound fees.
The victim was lured to another motel Aug. 5, 2010, where Marshall, Alexander Manfred Lind and Jesse Raffensberger beat him again, according to prosecutors. Lind and Raffensberger also reached agreements with prosecutors and were sentenced to seven years to life in prison.
Peek reached a plea deal with prosecutors before going to trial with Marshall and was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison, according to Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson.
— City News Service