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Two ‘Sovereigns’ Plead Guilty in Alaska Murder Plot

By Bill Morlin on August 28, 2012 - 1:45 pm, Posted in Extremist Crime, Militias, Sovereign Citizens

An Alaska couple who are antigovernment “sovereign citizens” face lengthy prison terms after pleading guilty Monday to charges they plotted to kill a federal judge and an IRS agent involved in a tax case against them.

Lonnie Vernon, 56, a member of Schaeffer Cox’s Alaska Peacemakers Militia, and his wife, Karen Vernon, 66, admitted conspiring to kill U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline and IRS officer Janice Stowell in 2011 in retaliation for ruling the couple owed more than $165,000 in back taxes.

The Vernons admitted to buying a gun, silencer and hand grenades, and having a map to the federal judge’s home.

Under a plea agreement, Lonnie Vernon will spend from 21 to 27 years in prison, and Karen Vernon will be sentenced to at least 15 years, the Anchorage Daily News reported in today’s editions. Both will be sentenced Nov. 14.

Lonnie Vernon and Cox, 28, were both convicted by a jury in June of involvement in another murder plot planned by members of the Peacemakers Militia. They both face up to life in prison when they are sentenced Sept. 14.

Despite his admission of guilt, Lonnie Vernon remained defiant, continuing to express the view, common among sovereign citizens, that the government has no control or authority over him, Reuters reported. Sovereigns generally believe they don’t have to pay taxes or obey most laws.

“If I’m accused of doing anything, I’m accused of freely exercising my First Amendment rights to the max,” Vernon told visiting Judge Robert Bryan of Tacoma, who presided over the case.

The federal judge told Vernon that he and others with similar antigovernment views are mistaken about their responsibilities to obey the law. “You can’t decide, on your own, that you won’t be part of what the government rules are,” Bryan said.

  • aadila

    Tom Speed,

    Grotius explained that the Citizen is only entitled to claim Sovereignty up to the moment of choice as to what form of government should prevail in that country: it could be a monarchy or it could be an elected government, but once the choice was made there was no turning back. As such, our country chose to have a Republic. Accordingly there can be no choice now to give up the rights and laws of the State, which is Sovereign.

    More on the subject here:

  • Tom Speed

    I’ve no comment on the case itself, I just wish to correct anyone who uses the term ‘Sovereign Citizen(s)’

    There is no such thing!

    The two are as different as can be, a Sovereign is free to make law, a Citizen is someone who gives up their rights and becomes subject to the laws of others, usually a Sovereign or State.

    Except, “all pretense of prerogative against Manga Charta is taken away”, LORD Coke. :)

    Long live the common law!

  • aadila

    Impossible to look outward for our satisfaction in life. This kind of deed is a reflection of a mind that does not know itself. They can still find liberation even in jail.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Interesting how these guys pleaded guilty…I would have expected them to stand up for what they believed in, and pleaded “not guilty,” and fought back, in tune with their rhetoric.

    I guess these folks are just not the stuff of which martyrs are made.

    Well, they’ll find like-minded pals in prison. Good riddance to them….another tragic wasted life…it’s just staggering how much energy they expend on such idiotic crusades.

  • rosewhite6289

    When I was really young and stupid I was on their side, like 22, then I grew up and realized a nation needs a tax base and I paid my fair share and I know violence is not the solution. These two have been caught in a web of deceit there are groups out there that people find conservatives mostly Christian who think they are doing what the founders of the country wanted and they are being hoodwinked by these hucksters into throwing their lives away.