Hate crime defendant claims he burned cross to memorialize his father

August 16, 2011

Jason Kahn

The defendant in a March 18 Arroyo Grande cross burning who is being charged with a hate crime claims that he was attempting to memorialize the death of his father, not to express racial hatred. [The Tribune]

The attorney for Jason Kahn, 36, of Orcutt, claims that his client did not know a black teen lived at the property adjacent to where a 12-foot wooden cross, stolen from a nearby church, was erected and set on fire.

The site next to the teen’s home, defense attorney Trace Milan told the Tribune after an arraignment hearing Monday, is where sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Kahn’s father, Rick Kahn, in 1994 after he charged at them with a knife.

Kahn says he and friends had gone to the site, a neighborhood south of East Grand, to mark the date of his father’s birthday the following day, March 19.

“This is where my client and his brother would leave flowers and visit,” Milan said. “They considered it their ground zero. It was the place where their father had died.”

Arroyo Grande police chief Steve Annibali, however, took issue with the claim: “There’s lots of ways to honor a person’s memory.” Cross burning “is usually not one of them.”

Although defendants claim the cross burning was part of a memorial, marking the site where Kahn’s father died, they originally attempted to place the cross into a hole they dug in the front of the black teen’s house.

When that attempt failed because of low hanging tree branches, they dragged the heavy cross to the side of the house and placed it directly in front of the black teen’s bedroom.

Four people have pleaded not guilty to felony charges that include arson and terrorism: Kahn; William Soto, 20, of Arroyo Grande; Jeremiah Hernandez, 32, of San Simeon; and Sara Matheny, 24, of San Simeon.


26 Comments

  1. ososkid says:

    Sounds to me like serving time in prison for a hate crime might be the perfect way to memorialize his fathers life. If you can’t live a better life than him at least serve a longer sentence.

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    • LittleAcorn says:

      I don’t know about the hate crime angle, it sure looks like it though. I’ve also never heard of stealing an (11 foot?) cross and burning it to memorialize your father’s death. Kahn seems to have very little respect for others. Maybe he wants to go back to prison.

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  2. Ugluk says:

    I’m just sick of seeing the dude’s ugly mug….

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  3. Typoqueen says:

    I hate to judge this guy before he goes to trial but I do find it hard to believe his story. I’ll bet that he found out that an African American was living there and because of his father it pissed him off that a black person was living where his father died. Yeah, I believe that he was memorializing his father, isn’t that what the KKK does when they light crosses, aren’t they memorizing something? This guy is a bad guy and should have been taken off the streets a long time ago, if it takes this to do it then so be it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    • Cindy says:

      Yeah it was all so racist, that’s why one of Kahn’s accomplices is a Pilipino and another is Mexican/Indian?

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      • Typoqueen says:

        Where did you read this? Didn’t the last article state that he was a known white supremacist and that he had a swastika tattooed on his head? My memory is bad, I’m getting pretty old so I might be wrong. Back in my day a swastika on the head pretty much signified racism.

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        • Cindy says:

          The racial heritage of those two accomplices was reported in the Tribune article.

          BTW, The name “Kahn” is about as Jewish as it gets. He does have a swastika tattooed on the back of his head that he got when he went to prison. No doubt , being young, he needed all the protection he could get and joining the White supremacist group was a way of garnering that protection while denying his own heritage.

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          • Typoqueen says:

            “BTW, The name “Kahn” is about as Jewish as it gets.”

            Actually it’s not a Jewish name. He’s about as Jewish as David Duke.

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            • zaphod says:

              That Genghis Kahn’s awesome extended gene pool included some Jewish girls is not a surprise after all the father of the islamic atomic bomb is AQ Kahn. so the idea that the name Kahn is of any importance in AG = nil. Genghis’s secret of success was the iron stirrup and grass fed horses. women crazy about an automobile.

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              • Typoqueen says:

                As always, great post. I don’t know what the song has to do with it but I liked it.

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                • zaphod says:

                  Y chromosome anomaly, imagine all the guys without horses watching as Genghis Kahn rode off with the best looking women. them’s the blues.

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                • Typoqueen says:

                  Too funny.

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            • Cindy says:

              You have to be kidding me, there are many Jewish with the last name of Kahn. Cripe I grew up with a Jewish family living in our neighborhood by the name Kahn! A quick search of Rabbi’s named Kahn popped up more than I could count, Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Rabbi Bruce Kahn, Rabbi Rachel Kahn, Rabbi Josh Kahn, Rabbi Zev Kahn, Rabi Joshua Kahn, and …..
              Even if Jason Kahn isn’t Jewish, no doubt he would have been suspect while in prison and he might have considered that the swastika was a necessity?

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              • Typoqueen says:

                I’m not meaning to top you. For many years I lived in Encino and Woodlands Hills (predominantly Jewish areas), one of my first jobs was at Solley’s Deli, My ex is Jewish. I’ve been around a lot of Jews, love the Jews. I do believe Kahn to be more Asian than anything else. Are there Jewish Kahns, sure, there’s Jewish Smiths. But I will stick with my belief that the origin of name Kahn isn’t Jewish and I’ll bet my last dollar that the man in this article isn’t Jewish.

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  4. willie says:

    I sort of believe it.
    If the burning cross was meant for the black girl next door, he would have burned it in her front lawn instead of the lot where his father was shot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  5. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    For those here and in the courtroom trying to defend this, let me TEAR down this falacy of BULLSHIT!!!

    First off I don’t know of too many people that head off to a memorial with a BUNCH of friends in tow. Usually most go by themselves or with someone significant.

    Second, the MORONIC statement about the memorial. If he REALLY was innocent, then why not go to door and ask, seeing as you would be using something (cross burning) with a HUGE related significance to other things.

    Last, again any MORON knows what a burning cross is associated with. I have know since I was around seven years old.

    The lawyer for this guy (while of course trying to do his job) reinforces why many like myself have a high distain for them and their outright lies and treating the public like we are morons that will believe their lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      P.S. I also didn’t realise that his lawyer was posting here.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    • Cindy says:

      There are many homes where bi-racial families live. There is only one place where his father was killed. Of course he had friends with him to help, that was a big cross. I believe he saw the cross and got the idea of stealing it and memorializing his father. I don’t believe he could have cared less who lived there. If he did know the bi-racial girl lived there, I don’t doubt he thought that was all the better but she wasn’t his main motivation. Like I said, there is only one place where is father was KILLED, there are plenty of bi-racial homes.

      Knock on the door and ask? LMAO.

      BTDT, Do you think this guy thinks like the average Joe? This isn’t a regular guy we are talking about. Kahn helped his father murder Rick Malony from AG when he (Kahn)was still a teenager and Kahn went to prison as an accomplice for that murder, that his dad dragged him along to witness. Most of us don’t have our parents killed by the police either. A witness swears that he saw everything on the night Kahn Sr was killed. He claims that when the police approached the trailer where the father lived that they shot the dog (outside) and the father came running out with a piece of toast in one hand and a butter knife in the other hand. He say’s the police immediately opened fire and murdered the father. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter, no doubt that is the story that Kahn believes. He is a very messed up guy that would certainly go burn a cross to memorialize his father.

      Go ahead and bring on the red, the fact is that I feel sorry for Kahn Jr, some people never have much of a chance, hug your parents and tell them thank you for loving you. If they are no longer living, take a moment of silence.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 8

      • Typoqueen says:

        There aren’t many bi racial people in this area. My kids have attended these schools for a long time and I can count the number of African Americans on one hand.

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        • Typoqueen says:

          Oh my I shouldn’t post while in a hurry, that was a mess.

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          • Cindy says:

            That’s OK, I get your drift but I have to disagree.

            There are lot’s of mexican/latino families in the area and certainly plenty of Jewish. Skin heads hate them all. When the police arrived, they didn’t seem to notice that she was half black? I think this is nothing but a bunch of hyped up sensationalism.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

            • Typoqueen says:

              I agree about the Hispanics but I disagree about the Jewish thing. There really aren’t many Jews up here. When my kids went to Shell Beach School there was one African American student in the entire school and at AG I can only think of maybe 5. Many racist don’t go after all races many of them really just hate blacks. But that doesn’t really matter. Although he’s bald, I haven’t read anywhere that he’s a skinhead but again I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure he has a big swastika on the back of his head. I disagree with you but time will tell who is right and who isn’t. And honestly you might be completely right, I really don’t know I’m just speculating on what seems to make sense to me. It will all come out in the trial.

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      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        GEEE Cindy. Most people in prison never had a chance. Should we let them all go?? Not prosecute anyone? Yea he had a tough life. He made choices. BAD ONES. I’m sorry I am for victums not perps!!! Do you have any sympathy for the victums? How about them? GEEZZZZZZZZZZZ

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      • acosta1973 says:

        I completely agree that there are many bi-racial homes in the community, mine is one of them. I believe strongly that everyone should have a place to mourn a lost loved one, but stealing a cross and buring it in the location of Rick’s death is not a way to do it. Jason did not in any way have a fair chance in this world, but he is now an adult and makes his own choices. It’s very said that he has to live with what he did as a young child, but making excuses for his adult behavior is rediculous. I don’t neccesarily feel there was an intent for HATE toward the family living in the home, but under the circumstances Jason obviously didn’t care about that or he wouldn’t of done it.

        As far as Kahn being a Jewish last name, that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to being a racist. There are many who are of a different race that show hatred toward others. I realize that due to his cicrumstances going to prison, this path may of been chosen for him as a means of survivol. He is no longer in prison any longer and the racist/seperatist behavior should of been left there.

        In closing, I wish everyone will just take a look at the facts at hand and stop turning this in to more than it needs to be. He committed a crime of theft by stealing the cross and burned it on the lawn of someone who HAPPENS to be bi-racial. It was wrong and he should be punished for his actions, not felt sorry for.

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  6. Side_Show_Bob says:

    The authorities turned this into something that it wasn’t all because of a knee jerk reaction of the public.

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    • ososkid says:

      A burning cross in front of a black teens window isn’t a reason to easily conclude there might be some sort of hate message here?. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with symbolism and American history or perhaps you just don’t like seeing one of you’re own go down for a cause you support.. My guess though, is you’re just frustrated because you cant connect this to some Mexicans.

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