The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Mistrial in Child Rape Case of Antigovernment Activist

By Ryan Lenz on January 24, 2012 - 5:42 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

DUNCAN, Okla. — The second trial of self-described Oath Keeper Charles Dyer, who is accused of raping his 7-year-old daughter in 2010, came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when a judge declared a mistrial after discovering the district attorney’s office had improper conduct with jurors.

District Attorney James Walters had not yet finished examining his first witness, Dyer’s wife Valerie, when the court learned that three jurors in had received a follow-up questionnaire for their service in another case. The surveys, which ask jurors for their opinions on how the proceedings were conducted, are standard procedure.

But Stephens County District Judge Joe Enos said there was no way Dyer’s trial could proceed in good faith –– even if the questionnaires had nothing to do with Dyer’s case. “It could very well have had an impact,” Enos told the court. The judge scheduled a new trial for April 16.

Dyer’s attorney, Al Hoch, declined to comment on the ruling. Walters, who was visibly frustrated with the ruling, also did not comment and left the courtroom in a hurry shortly after the ruling was announced.

The trial was the second for Dyer, a former Marine and Iraq veteran who faces a single count of child sexual assault following allegations last year that he had sodomized his daughter. The first trial ended with a hung jury. (At the time of his arrest, Dyer was also charged with possessing a grenade launcher stolen from the military in 2006 but was later acquitted of that charge.)

The case sparked national interest after Dyer failed to appear for trial last summer and soon afterward issued threatening, conspiracy-theorizing communiqués that left no room for doubt as to his intentions if were police to catch up to him.

“I have been pushed to the limits by law enforcement and the judicial system in an attempt to cause me to take violent actions against them,” Dyer wrote in an E-mail to his family. “Our judicial system is nothing more than a system of liars and crooks working under the color of the law, where the rich go free and the poor are made to suffer injustice. … Something must be done to expose it.”

Before that, he had posted similarly worded videos on YouTube using the name “July 4 Patriot.” In one, Dyer is seen with a shaved head, wearing a skeleton mask that covers his mouth. “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered,” he says in one video. “[But] those who expect the blessings of freedom must be willing to stand up and fight for it.”

However, that antigovernment anger was nowhere to be found when police arrested him in August, after he was spotted at a Sonic drive-in in Houston wearing a baseball cap and blue jeans, with a T-shirt over his shoulder. After providing a fictitious name, he was arrested without resistance and seemed very tired.

For its part, the Oath Keepers has worked to put distance between itself and Dyer. Founder Stewart Rhodes –– a Yale Law School graduate and former aide to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul –– insisted that Dyer was never a “dues-paying” member,” despite once considering Dyer to serve as the group’s liaison with the Marine Corps. Rhodes was also instrumental in urging Dyer to surrender and face trial.

Early on, Dyer supported the mission of Oath Keepers, including encouraging his YouTube audience to attend a meeting in 2009, Rhodes said in a prepared statement after Dyer’s arrested.

At that rally, Rhodes said in his statement, “[Dyer] told me of his intent to train and help establish private militias when he was discharged from the Corps. … I let him know that such a course of action would be incompatible with a position within Oath Keepers. … Over the next few months, we kept in touch and I tried to change his mind, since I thought his abilities could be best used in outreach to the currently serving, but he would not relent, and we both agreed that it would be best if he did not join Oath Keepers. He went his own way.”

  • MrsCaptJack

    Daniel ~ Polygraphs are inadmissable at trial. There is no point in his taking one. The judge probably forbade it because it is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Anyone can pass a polygraph with proper instruction.

  • http://Twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Pedro,

    Last I checked, nobody here has advocated pillorying Dyer. And the mistrial was caused by contact between the DA and jurors. Not from lack of evidence.

  • Pedro

    There are some huge holes in the prosecution, and from what I understand of the case, there is serious reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crimes. There have already been two mistrials. Maybe the guy should have his verdict before the SPLC blog lynch mob goes after the guy. All he has been proven guilty of is thought crime.

  • http://Twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Daniel,

    Last I checked, federal criminal trials can take a LOOOOOONG time to reach a verdict. And remember, not-guilty is not the same as innocent.

  • Daniel

    What ever happened to being presumed innocent until proven guilty in the court of law? You people should be ashamed of yourselves. If he really is as guilty as you say he is, then why hasn’t he been convicted? I’ve been following this trial for a while and there are WAY too many inconsistencies and dishonest practices on the part of the prosecutors. Why is it that the judge has forbidden the suspect from taking a polygraph? What is the prosecution afraid of, the truth?

  • Anaximander II

    I, and a couple of Vietnam Vet friends of mine, have been wondering……Just WHO is it that these “Oathkeepers”, with their “Militias”, are intending to SHOOT AT?
    Other “Oathkeepers” who, like the Egyptain Army Soldiers who helped the Tahrir Square Protestors beat down the Mukhabarat (Secret Police) Scumabgs who were attacking them, are still In Uniform?
    Thank You for disavowing this person, Oathkeepers – but then you don’t know how much it ticks ME off to have people like this ranting on and on; as I have REAL Troubles – including being Jail-Baited – with the Fed, and guys who rape their 7 year old daughters, and then pretend that they have something in common with ME – because “the man is out to get em” – Arrrrrgh!

  • ModerateMike

    The term “small government” as used by politicians has no more substance than the term “family values” did during the Bush-Kerry campaign, but it sure does get votes where I live. Since 2010, I can’t remember the last person to run for local office who didn’t include this phrase in his or her campaign literature, nor do I recall any of those politicians mentioning anything specific that they were going to shrink. But then, people aren’t interested in the specifics; they just want an easy way to identify the candidates who will fight to maintain the status quo.

  • Shadow Wolf

    In hindsight, what they really mean by “big government”, actually has nothing to do with how Paul describes it.
    They are simply angry at the United States government for helping minorities and poor class white America. They are angry at the government, for it’s ability to defend minority groups/individuals against what is usually an oppressive system initiated by a white majority. Such as biased judicial and criminal court systems, Affirmative Action, Hate Crime, WIC(for women) and other programs & etc to benefit the non-white/woman. And more non-whites become Federal agents/officers. So they become “anti-government”. They see this as an act of “Socialism” when they see proud non-white Americans/white women, serve the United States government.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I’d like to know how molesting a kid is “enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I’m sure the kid isn’t enjoying any of the former. Or perhaps you believe government should not protect children from sexual abuse?

    Another attack on a strawman. I suspect Paul will not return swiftly.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Well Paul, first off tell us how one measures “big government” exactly. Metric or Imperial? Then go on and tell us some examples of how it is impeding your ability to enjoy life, liberty, et al.

    This should be fun.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Sure thing, Paul. Keep on deluding yourself.

    Anti-government means AGAINST government. As in ‘rebelling against.’

    Nice attempt at a strawman

  • Paul Prichard

    Antigovernment means someone who thinks that the government has gotten too big and that as a result it impedes the people’s ability to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Yeah! The judicial system is completely filled with crooks and thieves!

    A man should absolutely be allowed to (allegedly) sodomize anyone he wants! Especially his daughter!!!

    It’s the American Way.