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The Rise & Fall of the House of Israel

KETK News/Texas Department of Criminal Justice

POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 9:22pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 2:53pm

It was Easter Sunday 1977, in Winnipeg, Alberta, Canada.

When--- then 28-year-old Robert Nicholas Fotti was involved in an accident that left a father and his son--- dead.

Fotti was convicted of dangerous driving.

Which, is the U.S. equivalent to manslaughter.

According to a Canadian Television station, Fotti fought the conviction all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

And, he was sentenced to 9 months in jail.

But you see, Robert Fotti never spent a day behind bars.

Instead, he disappeared and took off to the United States.

"He unfortunately got resident alien status during one of the amnesties and he's a Canadian national."

Because of that, authorities in Canada could not extradite him.

Saying, the charges were not serious enough.

Once in America, fotti started going by the name Robert James Fox.

And Police say, he did what he could to start over.

Television reporter for a station in Canada, Ross Rutherford, even tracked him to Dallas, but didn't get too far.

Fox eventually made his way to East Texas.

Police say, he continued to follow his own rules, and ignore the government's rules.

Sgt. Jason Price with the Jacksonville Police Department was the lead investigator on the case.

Sgt. Price says, "I don't know of anybody who could live in this country for as long as he did and stay as "off the grid" as he did. He is, and I've said this before, of above average intelligence."

It was back in 2008, when Jacksonville Police say, they first encountered Fox.

And, it all started with two men hanging out in an alley way on Main Street in Jacksonville.

Police got word one of the men, David Baugh, was a federal fugitive.

(Picture Courtesy: Jacksonville Police Department)

So, they started investigating.

Which, led to one of many search warrants at a building called the House of Israel.

Sgt. Price says, "We had to force entry on all of them because nobody would ever answer a door."

The House of Israel is a commercial building, where fox and his co-horts lived.

Sgt. Price says, "You could tell people were living there. There were spots for several people to live."

Police say, it's also where Fox practiced law under his prison ministry, known as "Matthew 25 Mission."

Sgt. Prices says, "Records indicate he was making some money."

In some instances, police say, in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The building also used to serve as a dentist office for Dr. Barry Brooks.

So, in their search of the building, police say, they found massive amounts of prescription drugs, 20 boxes of information, 2 file cabinets and 7 computers.

(Picture Courtesy: Jacksonville Police Department)

Investigators also found fake documents, including: a passport, ID card, birth certificate and vehicle registration.

Police say, all belonging to Fox.

Police also found a legal briefing Fox prepared for a man named John Walker Lindh, a self-proclaimed member of the Taliban.

Police say these items belonged to Fox---- books on Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing and books on David Koresh and the deadly Waco standoff.

Sgt. Price says, "I don't know if he idolized them or hero worshipped them or what. But, he held them in high regard, given the documents we found. Timothy McVeigh had his mentor, had his guru. David Koresh had his mentor, his guru. Fox is the kind of guy who would have been someone's guru."

Sgt. Price says, they believe by stopping this "cult", they saved lives.

Now, it's case closed.

Which, brings us back to today.

Fox is still behind bars for tampering with government records.

(Picture Courtesy: Jacksonville Police Department)

Sgt. Price says, "They revoked his resident status. And now, they have a federal detainer to deport him once he served his prison sentence."

According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records, Fox is set to be released from jail July 30th, 2013.

But, his days of serving time might not be over.

For the past 30-plus years, Constable Eric Hofley with the Winnipeg Police Service tells KETK, there's been a Canada-wide warrant out for Fox's arrest.

Cst. Hofley says, "The warrant itself is for the offense of driving dangerously."

And we've learned---- it's still very active.

Cst. Hofley says, "Mr. Robert Nicholas Fotti, as he's known here in Winnipeg, is currently the subject of investigation, ongoing from several decades ago. And he is currently wanted in Canada."

For the accident that killed a father and his son, Easter Sunday 1977.

Cst. Hofley tells KETK, the next step is notifying the Integrated Warrant Apprehension Unit in Winnipeg.

And this note, the House of Israel building in downtown Jacksonville is up for sale.

Police say, the House of Israel is--- no more.

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