Alleged Aryan Brotherhood member arrest in ax murder, $1M bond set

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Christopher Paul Mason By Catherine Holland Christopher Paul Mason By Catherine Holland
Joshua C. Calkins By Jennifer Thomas Joshua C. Calkins By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix man is facing kidnapping and murder charges in connection with a body that was found wrapped in a blanket in an alley earlier this year.

Police arrested Christopher Paul Mason late Thursday morning. He made his initial court appearance early Friday morning. Bail was set at $1 million.

Investigators believe Mason killed Joshua C. Calkins, a known member of the Aryan Brotherhood, in April. Calkins' brutalized body was discovered April 16.

According to court paperwork, Calkins, 35, contacted police in November 2013, telling them he had been "green lit" by the group.

After Calkins' body was identified through fingerprints, police interviewed more than 20 people, which led them to Mason.

Investigators kept many details about the killing secret, releasing specific information only after Mason's arrest.

Among those details are the severity of Calkins' injuries. He not only had multiple lacerations on his body, neck and back, he also had been internally decapitated and his head nearly cut off.

This all goes back to when Calkins robbed a woman, referred to as "witness zero" in the probable cause statement, at gunpoint.

"Witness zero was interviewed and she admitted Joshua had robbed her and that Christopher Mason had bragged to her that he killed Joshua," reads the court paperwork.

"I got him 13 times with an ax," Mason, 31, reportedly told a different witness, according to the probable cause statement, and said in front of another that he "almost took this guy's [expletive deleted] head off."

One of the many interviewees told police that Mason said he got a "thrill" from watching Calkins die.

Based on witnesses' statements, police believe Mason murdered Calkins at a Glendale apartment and later asked another person to bring bleach, towels and gloves to that location. That person told police he did not know what had happened at the apartment until he got there.

Mason fled the Valley shortly after the murder, Sgt. Jonathan Howard of the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement.

Police recently learned that he returned and arrested him without incident.

While the content of what the witnesses told investigators is included in public documents, their identities and connections to Mason and Calkins are not.

"The witnesses are not listed by name for their protection," reads the probable cause statement.

The Aryan Brotherhood, also known as AB, is a white supremacist prison gang and organized crime syndicate that demands fierce loyalty from its members, referred to as kindred. The organization sees itself as a family and expects the kindred to behave accordingly, protecting each other and the AB as a whole.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, there are approximately 386 members of the Arizona Aryan Brotherhood in the system.

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