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U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced today that Matthew Paul Slatzer, age 36, of Canton, Ohio, was sentenced by Judge Donald C. Nugent to 27 months imprisonment, the maximum possible sentence allowable within the federal sentencing guidelines. Slatzer previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a person with domestic violence conviction. 

“This defendant is well known within the community as an individual with a hateful ideology prone to threaten violence towards law enforcement and others based on race, religion or sexual orientation,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “These hateful beliefs, combined with a history of actual violence, make the defendant a threat to the community and the entirety of the Northern District. We are grateful for the maximum possible sentence in this matter that will keep the defendant in federal prison where he can no longer threaten or harm others.”  

“Possession of a firearm by someone with a violent criminal history, who continues to espouse hate and threaten law enforcement is reprehensible,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Hate towards any group must not and will not be tolerated. Today’s sentencing is another example that shows the FBI is committed to investigating and holding accountable those like Mr. Slatzer, who engage in these types of acts. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure justice is served.”

According to court documents, on February 2, 2020, Canton Police responded to a report of an intoxicated man with a firearm at a bar on Harrison Avenue NW in Canton, Ohio. Police arrived on the scene, contacted Slatzer, who was intoxicated, and collected the firearm. Slatzer was then arrested for possession of a firearm in a liquor permit establishment. Slatzer also possessed a weapon holster, knife, OC spray and ammunition. 

Slatzer is prohibited from possession of a firearm due to a previous conviction of domestic violence on October 20, 2010, in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case, on May 3, 2020, Slatzer was involved in an incident in Stow, Ohio, at a Dollar General while on a pretrial release in a state case. The memorandum states that Slatzer entered the store with a hatchet and a sword and asked a store employee for directions to Kent State University. Slatzer remarked to the employee that he was told there were “a lot of Jews at Kent State.” Slatzer then stated he was an Aryan brother and that he was going to Kent State University to find some Jews.

The memorandum further states that during a previous arrest, Slatzer threatened to kill the arresting officers, remarking that “he would kill each pig one by one” after making racist and homophobic statements. Later, while incarcerated at Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, Slatzer made several phone calls stating that he wanted to “figure out how to smuggle a gun in here” and that when he gets out, if he has contact with officers again, he will “have to kill ’em.”

The sentencing memorandum asked the Court not to consider Slatzer’s political views or beliefs in a sentencing determination, but rather the danger posed to the community due to these views and beliefs.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Canton Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Toni Beth Schnellinger Feisthamel.

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