Jailed man denies role in deadly stabbing

Shawn Plott says he was only an unofficial member of a neo-Nazi group thought to be involved in the attack.

Published March 28, 2006

LAND O'LAKES - He's been described as a former leader of the Iron Coffins, a tough biker club with a chapter in Hudson.

But on Monday, Shawn Plott was so scared he was crying.

His cheek was puffy and stitched, his right eye a nasty purple and black. The injuries were evidence of a weekend beating from jail inmates because of his ties to a neo-Nazi compound in west Pasco County, decorated with swastikas and Confederate flags.

Plott, in jail on probation warrants, is being questioned in the March 23 stabbings of a woman who lived next door and her son's friend. Patricia Wells survived, but 17-year-old Kristofer King died from his wounds.

Today, Plott observes his 34th birthday not with his daughters at a park but in the medical ward of the Land O'Lakes jail.

No one has been charged in the knife attacks. But Plott said he knew what people are saying about him.

"It's killing me," he said Monday at the start of an hourlong interview. "I didn't do anything here."

On Friday, a recruit for the neo-Nazi group recounted for the St. Petersburg Times a conversation he said he had with Plott early Thursday morning.

"I've taken care of them forever," John Ditullio recalled Plott saying.

Ditullio said Plott was spitting and grinding his teeth. Then he took off with several other members of the group, Ditullio said. The group included Plott's girlfriend, Christine Cristinzio, who a week before told authorities that a black man visiting Wells pointed a gun at her.

Ditullio, 20, also being questioned in the stabbings, suggested the gun incident likely prompted Plott to seek revenge.

Plott rejected that account.

"I'm not an official member," he said of the neo-Nazi group. "Every once in a while, I hung around ... It was the only place where I could be with my woman."

His mother, Cathy Plott of Minerva, Ohio, said her son wouldn't take part in any kind of violence.

"The truth is I know he don't like black people," she said. "He might be in that group, yeah. But murder or anything like that? No."

Shawn Plott said he came to know members of the neo-Nazi group during his days with the Iron Coffins. He belonged to that group for about a year, he said, but wouldn't talk about why he left.

He met Cristinzio, the mother of his 2-year-old daughter, at an Iron Coffins party.

He and Cristinzio were at the neo-Nazi compound Wednesday night. He drank two glasses of Coke and cheap whiskey, he said.

Cristinzio left to sleep at a quieter house. Plott said he fell asleep on the couch.

He doesn't know what time someone shook him awake.

"The police are coming," the person said, according to Plott. He doesn't remember who the person was.

He thought everyone left the house, he said. But the next morning, a Pasco SWAT spent five hours outside the home in what appeared to be a standoff. They ended up storming the house and arresting Ditullio, who said he had been passed out inside.

Pasco deputies arrested Plott as he was getting into a car in Holiday in southwestern Pasco County on Friday.

Ditullio told the Times that Plott and other neo-Nazis who frequented the Griffin Park home are Odinists, neo-pagans who worship the Norse god of wisdom and war. Odinism has become increasingly popular among Nazis and Aryan revolutionaries, a Southern Poverty Law Center report said.

"They believe they're warriors," Ditullio said.

Plott denied any such involvement. He looked at a reporter through his taped eyeglasses, which were broken during his beating at the jail Sunday. Three black inmates are suspected, according to a sheriff's report.

"Do I look like a warrior?" he asked.

--Mary Spicuzza contributed to this report. Colleen Jenkins can be reached at 727 869-6236 or cjenkins@sptimes.com