Bond revoked for Michigan leader of white supremacist group accused of committing crime while free

A self-proclaimed leader of a hate group had his bond revoked because he committed a crime while free, authorities said.

Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, was charged last year with gang membership, unlawful posting of a message, and using computers to commit a crime after an incident in late 2019. An additional charge for possessing steroids was added earlier this year.

Watkins and another man were allegedly caught shining lights into the windows of a Dexter home and taking photos in December 2019. The photos were posted to the Telegram channel of The Base, a white supremacy group, with the caption: "The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast ‘I Don’t Speak German.'"

Justen Watkins

According to officials, The Base openly advocates for violence and claims it is training for a race war to establish White ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the men believed a man by the name of Daniel Harper lived at the home but were mistaken. She said the photos were taken to threaten and intimidate Harper, who hosts a podcast that is critical of the neo-Nazi movement and shares concern about the rise in white supremacy in the U.S. 

Watkins is also accused of running a "hate camp" for members of the group, where he led tactical and firearms training for participants with the goal of being prepared for the violent overthrow of the government.   

Watkins was freed on bond after he was charged. One of his bond conditions was that he could not have contact with other members of The Base. However, it is alleged that another member posted bond for him in February and the pair committed a crime on April 7. Both men are charged with breaking and entering in connection with that incident.

Authorities said Watkins was also living with the man who paid his bond.

Watkins was ordered to turn himself in Thursday. A judge will consider witness testimony during a bond hearing May 17.

"Given the circumstances, the court's decision to revoke Mr. Watkins' bond was the correct course of action. We are pleased with the outcome," Nessel said.