The neo-Nazi gunman who authorities said fired 13 bullets into Denver talk-show host Alan Berg a quarter century ago has died of natural causes in a federal penitentiary while serving a 252-year sentence.
Bruce Pierce, 56, died about 2:45 p.m. Monday in the high-security section of the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex near Allenwood, Pa. Prison spokesman Mike Castagnola said Pierce was "an average inmate" who held a full-time job and participated in recreational activities.
Castagnola said Pierce had been at the prison for about five years and was in a two-person cell. He had previously spent time at federal prisons in Leavenworth, Kan., and Marion, Ill.
Pierce, who lived in Troy, Mont., before Berg's assassination, was a member of The Order, a group that had plotted to kill the outspoken Jewish talk-show host. Berg, who worked for KOA radio, was gunned down in his driveway on June 18, 1984.
Pierce was convicted of several charges, including violating Berg's civil rights. He was not charged with murder.
When he sentenced Pierce in December 1987, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch said that Pierce had forfeited his right to live in society:
"The man (Berg) was killed for who he was, what he believed in, and what he said and did, and that crime strikes at the very core of the Constitution."
Matsch gave Pierce a 150-year term on top of the sentence already imposed on Pierce for participating in an Order-directed crime spree aimed at establishing an Aryan bastion in the Northwest.
Anath White, now a writer working in the film and television industry in California, was Berg's producer at KOA.
"Alan derided them for their ridiculous beliefs that the Jews were mud people and the spawn of Satan," White recalled. The Order believed in "killing all the Jews and sending all the blacks back to Africa."
The Order put Berg in the top three of its hit list, which also included TV producer Norman Lear and Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"They figured Norman Lear would be hard to get and Morris Dees lived too far away," said White.