WRAM - We dedicate our hearts,minds and bodies to protecting our great Republic!
An Anchorage jury convicted Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox and two of his confederates on most of the charges they faced, leaving them looking at the possibility of long prison terms when they are sentenced in September.
As the verdicts were read aloud Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan, Cox's eyes darted from juror to juror and then to the full courtroom, returning again to the jurors, and he grew more agitated as the guilty verdicts piled up. The jurors appeared to avert his gaze. When the 21 separate verdicts were in the books and each juror polled by the judge to ensure the record was correct, Cox erupted.
"The prosecutors withheld evidence from you guys!" Cox shouted to the jury.
"Mr. Cox, please," said the judge. Cox looked down and covered his face. The next time he looked up, his eyes were red.
Federal prosecutors charged Cox, 28, Coleman Barney, 37, and Lonnie Vernon, 56, with amassing illegal weapons and with threatening the lives of law enforcement officials and judges. Cox was leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia, but his ideology was much broader, combining evangelical Christianity, a sense of an impending national collapse, and the assertion that the state and federal government held no authority over him.
The defense attorneys said that Cox and his codefendants were being prosecuted because of their ideas. They should have been protected by the First Amendment's rights of free speech and assembly, they said.
Cox and Vernon were each convicted of the most serious of 16 counts in their indictment, conspiracy to murder federal employees including law enforcement officers. The jury deadlocked on whether the third defendant, Coleman Barney, 37, was also guilty of conspiracy to murder and the judge declared a mistrial on that count, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Prosecutors said a decision would be made later on whether to retry Barney on that charge, but such a new trial seemed unlikely given the complexity of the case and that fact that he faces prison on his conviction on two weapons felonies.
All three men were convicted of conspiring to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices. Cox was convicted of soliciting the murder of a U.S. officer.
The jury rejected all five counts in which prosecutors charged the defendants with carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. But Cox was found guilty on a total of nine counts and Barney and Vernon twice. Most of the charges carry 10-year prison sentences.
'SHUT UP, DON'T EXPRESS YOURSELF'
Bryan, a visiting judge from Tacoma, Wash., set sentencing for Sept. 14, around the time he will return to Alaska to conduct another trial in which Vernon and his wife are defendants. They're accused of threatening to murder the federal judge who presided over their losing tax case.
The jury of seven women and five men began deliberating Thursday morning and worked through Friday before getting the weekend off. The jury resumed deliberations Monday.
Bryan, a veteran federal judge who was appointed by President Reagan, was effusive in his praise of the jury.
"I do not recall a jury in a very complicated case like this being as engaged, as involved in paying attention, making notes and trying to understand everything, an all the evidence, as it came in," Bryan said.
Though Bryan said they were now free to talk about the case with reporters or the attorneys, they declined. As they walked from the federal building together, some looked upset. Outside, they parted into groups, waved goodbye, and went their separate ways.
Back in the courtroom, Bryan declared, "The defendants are remanded to custody subject to further order," and left the courtroom. As marshals were putting the the defendants in handcuffs, Marti Cox mouthed, "I love you" to her husband. With tears in her eyes, she turned and hugged Barney's mother, Mae Barney, who was also crying.
Marti Cox, Mae Barney and her husband, Bill Barney, said the verdicts were too fresh for them to comment.
Outside the courtroom, assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Skrocki said the verdicts were fair and that the jury had plenty of evidence to construct their pleas. He said prosecutors alone introduced 900 exhibits and called 70 witnesses.
But Tim Dooley, Barney's attorney, said the verdict represented a reversal for free speech. He said the lesson was, "Shut up, don't express yourself ... don't say anything you think will be opposed by the U.S. government."
DEADLOCKED ON ONE COUNT
It wasn't clear earlier in the day that there would be verdicts Monday. Shortly before 2 p.m., the jury sent word that it was deadlocked on one count. Bryan summoned the attorneys and defendants and called the jury back into the jury box.
Asking who was elected foreperson and telling the jury to not say anything about its divisions, Bryan asked if they had unanimous verdicts in the other counts. The forewoman said they had. Bryan sent them away and a few minutes later asked them to prepare the verdict forms. They returned at 3:07 p.m.
Over 22 days of trial, the jury frequently came in contact with big legal and philosophical issues concerning the limits of free speech and the right to bear arms.
Cox was a charismatic leader who almost won the Republican primary in Fairbanks for a state House seat in 2008, and he came to the attention of the FBI after a series of speeches to militia and conservative organizations in Montana.
The investigation had nothing to do with Cox's radical doctrines, an FBI agent testified. Rather, it was Cox's claim, proven to be grossly exaggerated, that he had 3,500 men in arms in Fairbanks who were willing to kill to protect liberty, and that his force had mines and automatic weapons.
The two other defendants were Barney, a major in the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and a successful electrical contractor from North Pole with a large family; and Vernon, a militia sergeant who, with his wife, Karen, was losing his home in Salcha in their fight with the IRS.
Prosecutors made much of the arsenal they seized following the "take down" arrests on March 10, 2011, of Cox, Barney and the Vernons. The four were arrested in the middle of a sting as they attempted to buy hand grenades and silenced pistols from an FBI informant.
On any given day in the trial, the evidence was piled by the rail behind the prosecution table, ready to be identified or explained by witnesses: semi-automatic assault rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, demilitarized hand grenades and bullet-proof vests. Thousands of rounds live ammo, including grenades containing tear gas, pepper gas and rubber BBs, didn't make it into the courtroom for obvious reasons, but photographs of the materiel were shown to the jury on a regular basis.
As much as prosecutor made of the weapons, the defense attorneys pointed out that most were legal and that at least some Alaskan wouldn't think that owning thousands of bullets wasn't weird, unlike a jury, say, in California.
Cox created or played a leadership role in at least five separate activist organizations in Fairbanks. The Interior Alaska Conservative Coalition kicked him out in 2010 when Cox began advocating "bloody revolution" and the overthrow the government, a board member testified at the trial.
His Liberty Bell Network provided a phone number -- Cox's cell phone -- for anyone who believed the police were overstepping their bounds. Cox and other volunteers would race to the scene to capture the event on video. It was at such a situation where Cox failed to declare to the police that he was carrying a concealed weapon, leading to the charge he eventually failed to answer.
His Alaska Assembly Post promoted the "sovereign citizen" movement in Fairbanks, the notion that the individual is the only source of governmental authority. Under the auspices of the Assembly Post, Cox arranged for a "judge" and a jury of his pals to hear his weapons case and a prior domestic violence case to which he had already pleaded guilty. The proceedings were held at the Denny's restaurant in Fairbanks and he was acquitted of all charges.
Cox's Second Amendment Task Force was popular in Fairbanks despite its declaration that members, if they served on a real jury, should never convict a person of gun charges unless the weapon was used in connection with another crime. There's a famous YouTube video of Rep. Don Young standing next to Cox at Denny's as Cox declared, "We have no obligation to submit to a government that refuses to submit to their governing document."
In the video, Young signed a public letter written by Cox that declares that if the government decides to "further tax, restrict or register firearms," citizens would have the duty to "alter or abolish" such a government and replace it with another.
Cox created the Alaska Peacemaker Militia as a uniformed and heavily armed force. At times he described it as a defensive organization, but also declared its members could open fire first on government agents who had drawn down on them. It was also the militia that would implement the "241" plan.
With those organizations, prosecutors said, Cox had created the foundation of an alternative government and the ability to use force to attempt to put in place.
The defense argued that Cox never posed an imminent threat to civil order and, with Barney and Vernon, operated within constitutional limits.
Roy your right on this one.
Where in the hell are the local militias. Why couldn't something be coordinated here to do something to free that man?
We patriots should of been at those hospitals foaming at the mouth day and night. I feel sorry for that man because he had to felt alone.
Yes don't say anything that the government wouldn't like. I mean a totally run away government shouldn't be told they need to be removed. I mean our first amendment was created for for that.
Obama himself killed the militia that's what I think.
The point of all that was that the Feds ARE looking at us - NOW. It gets more and more close to impossible to be "low profile" in a surveillance state, which is why they spy on us, it's why they increase their capabilities e=very chance they get. They won't be satisfied until they hear and record every domestic argument, every gut rumble, conversation, pizza-and-beer fart, and video record every moment of every life from birth until death. That's THEIR ideal! And of course we've seen what people like this do when they even a tiny portion of such power: TSA making child porn, nude pics of teens (who are due to get cancer shortly thereafter)... One TSA employee was busted with something like 27,000-some-odd (if I remember aright) nude pictures of children. The man must live on the computer when he's not at work gathering raw material...
Folks, we have no rights. Zero rights. Write something, post something, SAY something someone in one of the alphabet agencies doesn't like and find yourself suddenly stuck in the psych ward. what you're talking about doesn't TAKE a militia though, so why GO as one? Show up beer buddies, a bridge club... and protest their ears off! Yes, it would be a great idea to show up and protest every one of these incidents we can learn about! If the MSM won't pick it up, plenty of people on the Net will!
If we shut up and hide in the bushes, then they've won.
man that is crap the govment gets away with it .I swear I am going down shootin
"In Florida, it is AGAINST THE LAW to be a member of a “private” Militia Group"
How in hell did they go about criminalizing something the Constitution said was NECESSARY?
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
That reads pretty clear to me! I would think that cold be challenged by a smart Second Grade school class.
Well, I guess this is the wave of the future....gotta make it look good, its almost election time....
Terror plot by soldiers http://t.co/y88cqDun
This election ain't gonna look good no matter what. The President is a compulsive liar and an old fashioned shyster of a lawyer (no longer licensed) and he's married to one: http://beforeitsnews.com/obama/2012/06/bombshell-the-real-reason-ba...
Romney is a nutjob, period, and he picked a nutjob servant of the rich for a running mate. Besides, I keep remembering Michelle at a flag ceremony saying, "All THIS just for a flag?" It COULDN'T be that hard to impeach Obama - neither one of them is fit to set foot in The People's House! Whenever they do leave the place, I hope somebody checks their pockets and luggage...
Yeah, I read about that. Any gifts they're given while in office are supposed to remain, too. They also have a permanent contingent of Secret Service that they've rented an out-building on their property to for $10,000 a month! At least that's what it was at first; I imagine the rent has gone up since then. *sigh* Serving ought to be look upon and treated as a privilege! Instead it's an opportunity for legalized insider trading and collecting lots of other "fringe benefits". The only thing people should take from holding such an office is the honor of having been chosen to do so, dammit! I knew who and what Slick Willie was before he was elected, but I knew nothing about the Cabal yet. I knew that was going to be a mess, though. I was right. That's Amerika for you.
When a Alaskan gets prison for having arms it is truly scary.I am wheel chair bound so if they come for me will be a fight here in Jerseyville Il .I can not run or hide have to stand .thanks for lessening to an old man folks .
William Gary William - I understand your position. A lot f us are in the same boat. I've had 6 back operation, looking at maybe two more if the whole kit 'n' kaboodle doesn't fall apart before then (with my luck the lights'll go out when I'm on the table (I wonder how long ago the VA checked their auxiliary power?). I walk with a cane - but not very far or fast. We have SOME supplies, but things've been tight, like for everybody else. Aside from which, without the meds, I'm dead in the water or outright dead anyway. Well, I have enough gear to make sure that I don't go to a FEMA Camp. Don't think I'd care to have to try to survive "re-education," spiked vaccines, extra fluoride in the water and the rest on top of everything else anyway. Like and old buddy of mine used to say, "May God and Winchester be with you!" I have to say, though, it's a lousy "Thank you" for those of us who served in wartime when we thought we were needed. Or for any hard-working American who thought they were doing what they were supposed to do. Of course it's what we were all raised to believe- working hard to keep the rich getting richer. Well, sooner or later the interest they've accrued on THAT debt is going to come due...
Well said! We don't get to choose whether or not we die; we only get to choose how we meet it. Chances are I'll get caught flat-footed in the bathroom or something. It hate it that this has come now, when 'm old, damaged and poor. but then I think, "One more generation and they'd never know there was that much of a change at all." Magnus, I try hard not to let hatred get any hold on me; it does nothing at all to help anything, but this? What there wealthy slime have done to my country, to my people, to MY PLANET just burns like a hot coal in my chest. It could all have been so GOOD, damn them! People like that would use a Ming vase for a thunder mug.
From the story, concerning the convictions of the three including Schaeffer Cox and his two followers. ""The jury rejected all five counts in which prosecutors charged the defendants with carrying a firearm during a crime of violence"
The Alaskan Jury did NOT convict for the weapons charges the prosecuters brought. This doesn't mean they didn't convict on the other charges for illegal grenades etc. The people certainly were/are awake in that regard.
he got prison for being stupid, owning live hand grenades and threatening the life of a judge, that's just stupid, exactly what you would not want to do... definitely not smart enough to lead a malitia...