The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Update: The AP is reporting that members of the militia “wore distinctive tattoos that resemble an anarchy symbol,” according to a prosecutor.
Prosecutors today said that four active-duty soldiers in Georgia formed what was described as an “anarchist militia” and took steps aimed at overthrowing the U.S. government, The Associated Press reported.
One of the four, Pfc. Michael Burnett, told a judge in Ludowici, Ga., today that former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York, were murdered in December because he knew of the militia’s plans and was a “loose end,” the AP said. Burnett pleaded guilty today to manslaughter and gang charges.
The group spent $87,000 on guns and bomb-making materials, according to prosecutor Isabel Pauley. The AP also quoted Pauley saying the men intended to take over Fort Stewart, bomb unnamed sites in Savannah, Ga., and Washington state, and assassinate the president.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Aug. 19 in The Spokesman-Review, based in Spokane, Wash. The 11-day siege at Ruby Ridge began 20 years ago today, on Aug. 21, 1992. The author of this post covered the Aryan Nations and other extremist groups during his 37-year career as a reporter with The Spokesman-Review.
Who would have thought 20 years ago this week that those two words would become an icon, a reference point in American culture? ( continue to full post… )
Alaska militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox has fired his attorney, likely laying the groundwork for an appeal of his nine convictions, which include conspiring to kill a judge and law enforcement officials.
In a two-sentence document filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia said he had discharged defense attorney Nelson Traverso. “I do so voluntarily and intelligently and will seek other counsel,” Cox said.
The basis for the firing, Cox contends, is that Traverso was ineffective and didn’t provide a proper defense, leading to Cox’s jury conviction and, quite likely, a lengthy prison sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14, but that date could be postponed to allow his new attorney time to review the case. ( continue to full post… )
In the end, a federal jury in Alaska didn’t believe militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox’s claim that he was just a free-speech loudmouth — more like Gandhi than Rambo — and convicted him of heading a conspiracy to murder a judge and law enforcement officials.
The jury also convicted Lonnie Vernon, a member of Cox’s Alaska Peacemakers Militia, of conspiracy to commit murder. But it couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on that same charge against a third defendant, Coleman Barney.
Cox, 28, of Fairbanks, and Vernon, 56, of Salcha, both face a term of up to life in prison when they are sentenced Sept. 14 in Anchorage by visiting U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan from Tacoma. Barney, 38, of North Pole, faces sentencing after being convicted of conspiring to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices. ( continue to full post… )
The Justice Department has cut a deal with a former member of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia to bolster its case against the group’s leader Schaeffer Cox and two others on trial in U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
Michael O. Anderson, who was arrested with Cox and co-defendants Lonnie Vernon and Coleman Barney in March 2011, will testify for the prosecution, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday as opening arguments were heard. ( continue to full post… )
Two members of a Georgia militia — arrested late last year in a plot to bomb federal buildings, assassinate public officials and attack cities with deadly ricin — pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges in a Gainesville, Ga., courtroom.
Accused ringleader Frederick W. Thomas, 73, and Emory Dan Roberts, 67, both entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms.
The case was labeled by the FBI as one of its top domestic terrorism investigations of 2011 following the arrests of Thomas and Roberts and two others last November. ( continue to full post… )
The two remaining defendants in the government’s case against members of Michigan’s Hutaree Militia pleaded guilty today to federal firearms charges, just two days after a judge dismissed antigovernment conspiracy charges against the pair and five others.
David Stone Sr., 47, and his son Joshua Stone, 23, pleaded guilty to possessing machine guns. They admitted to U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts in a Detroit courtroom that they had two .223-caliber rifles, knowing that the weapons would fire automatically with one trigger pull. Possession of such firearms without proper registration is a federal crime.
After the pleas were entered, the elder Stone – identified by authorities as the Hutaree leader – told the Detroit Free Press that he thinks the case “will only lead to more mistrust of the government by militias.” ( continue to full post… )
A federal judge in Detroit today dismissed charges against seven members of the Hutaree militia who have been on trial for allegedly plotting to kill police officers in hopes of igniting a revolution against the government.
“The government’s case is built largely of circumstantial evidence,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said in a 28-page order dismissing the charges before the case was sent to a jury.
“While this evidence could certainly lead a rational fact finder to conclude that ‘something fishy’ was going on, it does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants reached a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the United States Government,” the judge wrote. ( continue to full post… )
A jury in Detroit today began the task of attempting to determine whether a heavily armed Christian militia group was embarking on an armed confrontation with the federal government or merely living in a fantasy world of “recreation” and protected free speech.
Seven members of the Hutaree militia arrested in an FBI sweep last March are on trial in U.S. District Court on charges of seditious conspiracy – plotting the overthrow of the U.S. government – and the companion felonies of attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and possession of firearms during crimes of violence. An eighth member has struck a plea bargain and may be a key prosecution witness during the trial, expected to last six to eight weeks.
“These individuals … wanted an armed confrontation with law enforcement and the federal government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline said in opening statements, the Detroit Free Press reported. ( continue to full post… )
Like this winter’s near-record snowfall in Alaska, federal criminal charges keep piling up against imprisoned militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox.
With six additional federal charges filed in a superseding indictment just last Friday, the trial for Cox and Alaska Peacemaker Militia co-defendants Coleman L. Barney and Lonnie G. Vernon has been postponed from Feb. 6 to May 6.
The new federal indictment now includes federal murder conspiracy charges similar to state charges dismissed against Cox last October after a state judge ruled audio and video recording made during a six-month FBI investigation wouldn’t be admissible in state court. Those recordings and testimony from two confidential informants are expected to be the backbone of the federal prosecution. ( continue to full post… )