Metro Weekly

Two Aryan Hate Group Members Kill Gay Man

An Aryan prison gang member helped an inmate escape police custody before allegedly murdering two Idaho men.

Nicholas “Moose” Umphenour and Skylar Meade – Photos: Boise Police Department

Two members of the Aryan Knights prison gang successfully pulled off a headline-grabbing escape from the custody of Idaho prison officials before murdering two men, including a gay man with whom one of the men had previously been acquainted.

According to the Boise Police Department, on March 19, Skylar Meade, a prisoner at the Idaho Maximum Security Prison, was transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise to be treated for self-inflicted injuries. He was discharged just after 2 a.m. on May 20.

While the 31-year-old Meade was being transported from the hospital, Nicholas “Moose” Umphenour, a former Maximum Security Prison inmate, opened fire and shot two Idaho Department of Correction officers. Umphenour and Meade then fled the scene in a gray sedan.

They drove to North Idaho, where they allegedly killed 83-year-old James Mauney, a resident of Juliaetta, and 72-year-old Don Henderson, a twice-divorced father of three who lived in relative seclusion in a cabin located outside of the city of Orofino.

Police said Henderson, who has been described as an avid outdoorsman who frequently went hunting with his six dogs, knew the suspects, but it remains unclear as to what extent.

Henderson’s partner, Ron Thompson, told the Idaho Statesman that Umphenour stayed with the couple at Henderson’s cabin a decade ago.

Thompson — who had met Henderson online and moved from Washington State to Idaho to live with him in 2006 — said Umphenour, who was about 18 years old at the time, asked to stay with the couple because his family’s camper didn’t have a lot of space and he didn’t get along with his father.

After a month, the couple kicked him out when he attempted to take control of the couple’s home and frequently talked about shooting people who disrespected him.

“He had a volatile temper, which was frightening,” Thompson told the Statesman. “He would just explode all of a sudden, so it was like, ‘No we can’t have this here.'”

Thompson says he never saw Umphenour after the couple kicked him out. Around 2018, Thompson — who had grown tired of living in Idaho, especially as a gay man — left the cabin and lived in Orofino for some time.

About a month ago, Thompson learned from Henderson that Umphenour had hiked up to the cabin and visited with Henderson for about an hour.

Thompson said he didn’t think much of Umphenour’s visit at the time, but became concerned after learning about the 28-year-old’s recent role in helping break Meade out of custody. After he couldn’t reach Henderson, Thompson called the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office and asked them to do a welfare check. Deputies found Henderson’s body around 8 p.m., though the Clearwater County Coroner’s Office estimated he had been killed about seven hours earlier.

According to Idaho State Police, during their escape, the men encountered James Mauney while he was walking his dogs, took him to a remote area, and killed him before driving off in his Chrysler Pacifica.

They drove to Henderson’s house and killed him, leaving Mauney’s dogs at the scene and setting out for Filer, Idaho, where they met up with 52-year-old Tonia Huber, reports Pullman Radio.

An FBI agent saw Umphenour leave a residential neighborhood in Filer. While pursuing Umphenour, that agent saw Meade in the passenger seat of another vehicle, and switched to pursuing Meade.

Huber, who was driving the truck, began speeding to elude the FBI agent. She eventually drove into a Walgreens parking lot, where another Twin Falls police officer struck the side of the vehicle to stop it, allowing police to arrest Meade and Huber. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Twin Falls, Umphenour, still driving Mauney’s car, was arrested around the same time. 

Meade and Umphenour were later extradited to the Ada County Jail.

On March 25, both men appeared via video conference for a bond hearing, at which point both men were ordered to be held in custody on a $2 million bond.

Meade faces a felony charge of escape, while Umphenour faces three counts of felony assault or battery for shooting the two corrections officers, a felony charge of firing a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime, and a felony charge of aiding and abetting an escape. No charges have been filed in either Mauney or Henderson’s murders, though the investigation remains ongoing.

Thompson, Henderson’s partner, said Henderson had wanted to keep their relationship private due to having been previously assaulted and threatened by people who speculated that he was gay.

“We weren’t open up there,” he said. “But I want people to know that he was my partner. He loved me and I loved him wholeheartedly.”

Thompson told the Statesman that he and Henderson had been discussing plans to sell the cabin, leave Idaho, and relocate to New Mexico, but those plans were cut short by the murder.

“We had all these plans, and now he’s gone,” Thompson said. “He’s been snuffed out by evil people.”

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