The leader of a Florida-based sovereign citizen sect, who had been charged with armed kidnapping and false imprisonment, has been given a plea deal by state prosecutors.
Ronnie Lee “Bear” Davis, who heads an antigovernment sovereign citizen group called “Bears Law and Forensic Science Team,” pleaded guilty last week in Polk County, Florida, to a lesser charges of battery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, records show.
Arrested last November, Davis will serve a year and a day in prison instead of a likely life-sentence if he had been convicted of the more serious felony charges.
Assistant State Attorney Jacob Orr said Davis was arrested after authorities received a report that a woman from Texas was being held against her will at the “Bears Law” compound on Appalachian Trail in Polk City, Florida.
The woman claimed Davis intended to make her “one of his wives” and that the only way she would leave the armed compound was in a body bag or on crutches, deputies said at the time of his arrest.
However, the prosecutor said, “concerns began to surface” about the strength of the case as investigators took statements from witnesses, resulting in the decision to offer the plea deal, The Ledger newspaper reported.
Although he received a short sentence in Polk County, jail records indicate Davis apparently won’t be immediately released when that term is complete. The state Department of Corrections and Pasco County, Florida, have placed “holds” on Davis, indicating they will take him into custody for other apparent violations.
The “Bears Law and Forensic Science Team” literature contains assorted sovereign citizen assertions and propaganda, including the claim that the United States is “not a country [but] a federal corporation.”
The group’s literature suggests Davis assembled a “team” of at least six followers who primarily attempt to engage state child welfare officials in legal battles.
An Idaho woman was arrested last year in that state on witness intimidation charges after claiming her children were illegally taken from her by Child Protective Services workers.
Davis and his sovereign “Bears Law” team attempted to intervene, claiming in an online video their “marshals” would arrest the judge and state Child Protective Service workers involved in her case.
Davis, who has a felony criminal record, is not licensed to practice law in Florida, public records show.
His web site photo includes a caption threatening members of the judiciary with “paper terrorism” commonly used by sovereigns: “Go ahead judge. You are buying a commercial lien!”
Another team member’s photo includes the caption: “Don’t make me shoot you in the foot.”