A neo-Nazi accused of firing a can of bear mace at 11 people during a meeting on nonviolent protests is now facing perjury charges over comments he made while acting as his own lawyer.
When Bret Maness allegedly burst into an Anchorage, Alaska, community center with a large can of bear mace, witnesses thought he was an actor, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The small group had gathered for a seminar on nonviolent protest. Maness, 53, was a mace-wielding neo-Nazi with an extensive criminal history that includes killing a black neighbor after allegedly shouting “I told you I’d kill you, you fucking n---er.” Maness was arrested for the bear-mace attack and booked on a series of charges, which grew again last week after he was charged with allegedly lying about the incident in court.
The attack appeared unprovoked. Maness’ 11 alleged victims, who ranged from 29 to 79 years old, didn’t know him. But Maness’ social media suggests why he might have targeted the group.
Maness is prolific poster on Gab, a social media network popular among the alt-right. Approximately one month before the bear-mace attack, Maness shared a post from Gab user “卐Kike ϟlammer88卐 卐BOWL GANG卐.” (“Bowl gang” being a reference to people who admire white supremacist Dylann Roof, “ϟ” being a reference to the Nazi SS, “88” being code for “Heil Hitler,” and the rest being pretty obvious.)
“I’m ready for Antifa,” the aforementioned user captioned a picture of bear mace. The post was a response to white supremacist Christopher Cantwell, who gained notoriety for pepper spraying counterprotesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. (Cantwell was later dubbed the “Crying Nazi” after he uploaded a video of himself crying about the charges he faced after the pepper-spray incident.)
Maness replied to the picture of bear mace, appearing to call for its use against “the gay parade, and the enemies ov the US Constitution parade. itching powder and stink bombs r gud 2. #stormtrumpers #bannon2024 #stockuponkleenexfgts”
One month later, he was booked on charges of terroristic threatening, burglary, reckless endangerment, and 11 counts of fourth-degree assault. And last week, he was slapped with three felony perjury charges, after a grand jury found he was lying when he’d testified before them that he’d been “attacked or mobbed by the people inside” the community center there for the seminar on nonviolent protest.
Maness, who says he cannot afford a public defender, is representing himself in the criminal case. (Maness told the court the cost of a public defender would come out of his cut of the Alaska Permanent Fund, an annual payout to Alaskans.) On his Gab profile, he describes himself as a “successful libertarian laywer” [sic]. But most of his legal background appears to stem from his extensive criminal history.
In 1997, Maness allegedly fired a BB gun at a black neighbor’s home. When the neighbor came outside, Maness met him with a rifle, shooting and killing the man in his driveway. The fatal shot reportedly struck the neighbor in the back of the neck.
Maness was acquitted and found to have acted in self-defense, though witnesses testified that they’d heard Maness say “I told you I’d kill you, you fucking n---er.” A search of Maness’ home turned up his own white supremacist writings, in which he reportedly addressed killing Jewish and black people. Investigators also found a marijuana-grow operation and sawed-off shotguns in his home, which resulted in drug and weapons convictions for Maness.
In 2003, Maness was found guilty of weapons charges stemming from a 2001 incident after his then-wife obtained a judge’s order to have Maness committed to a mental institution.
“He thinks he is either Jesus Christ or a witness from Revelations,” his wife wrote in a petition for the commitment order. “He’s normally a very calm Christian man but now feels there [is a] conspiracy against him.”
But when Alaska State Troopers arrived at the family home, Maness allegedly threatened to kill the officers. He then fled in his car, allegedly firing three shots at the officers. In the ensuing manhunt, police closed down a highway and placed spikes across the road, blowing out Maness’ tires as he attempted to escape. Maness fled into the woods on foot, reportedly carrying an assault rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, and an ammunition belt. Police eventually shot him in the shoulder and arrested him.
A former death-metal vocalist, Maness reportedly grew estranged from the scene following the death of a bandmate’s mother.
“This is where things took a massive turn for Bret in the music scene,” musician Jack Tobin told the Anchorage Press. “He posted pictures of dead bodies – like, real dead bodies and shit – on this kid’s Facebook page the morning after her suicide. Just, like, brutal. Everyone was shocked. How could anybody do this kind of thing, you know?”
In his initial court appearances, Maness protested when prosecutors brought up his criminal history.
“That’s balls!” he shouted. He claimed prosecutors were referring to the wrong man.
“That’s not me,” he claimed when a prosecutor began listing his previous convictions. “Hey partner, you might be sued for perjury, man.”