An antigovernment "sovereign citizen" who calls himself “Undertaker” is going to prison for three years after being convicted of illegally possessing firearms and squatting in a vacant house in Mansfield, Ohio.
Jeffrey Alan Miller, who told the Mansfield News Journal that he’s been a sovereign citizen since 1993, claims he fixed the plumbing and leaky roof, and even installed security cameras in the house he didn’t legally own after moving in last December.
But when neighbors noticed, police showed up and arrested Miller, Richard Sterling, 39, of Mansfield, and Michael Plaster, 48, of Galion, Ohio. The newspaper reported that Sterling and Plaster are also affiliated with the sovereign citizen movement.
Miller, who has a felony record, was arrested on various charges. He ultimately struck a plea bargain, pleading to reduced burglary and firearms charges. Sterling and Plaster are free on bond, awaiting trial.
Sovereign citizens, sometimes called “Freemen on the Land," espouse the belief that government has no control over them, that they are not subject to taxes and licensing. Often they file assorted legal documents and attempt to act as their own attorneys.
The antigovernment extremists also have frequent runs-in – sometimes deadly – with law enforcement. In part, that’s why the FBI has labeled the movement one of the most significant domestic terrorism threats in the United States.
Miller, 51, said he just wanted a place to live. He moved into the vacant house because he had been homeless, unable to get a job or rent a residence because of his criminal record, Miller told the court.
“By accepting responsibility for his actions, he’s made it possible to accept a life for himself when he gets out of prison,” Assistant Morrow County Prosecutor Dave Homer told the Mansfield after Miller was sentenced earlier this week.