Alaska Militia Members Sentenced to Prison

Several members of an Alaska militia, including its leader, have been sentenced to prison for a range of crimes, including plotting to kill public officials and law enforcement officers. The leader got almost 26 years in prison, while others received similar sentences.

The leader of a self-described militia group was sentenced Tuesday to serve nearly 26 years in prison following his conviction on nine felonies, including conspiring to murder public officials.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan sentenced Schaeffer Cox, 28, during a two-hour hearing at U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

Cox’s sentence came a day after another foot soldier in the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia, 57-year-old Lonnie Vernon, received the same sentence…

Prosecutors said the group hatched a “2-for-1″ plan – killing two law enforcement officials for every militia member killed – an idea another convicted member, Coleman Barney, acknowledged at his trial was discussed twice but never put into play. Group members also amassed silencers and grenades…

Vernon was charged with conspiring to kill public officials, amassing weapons and, along with his wife, of planning to kill a federal judge and an Internal Revenue Service official over a tax dispute.

Karen Vernon was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday.

Barney was sentenced last year to five years in prison on weapons charges.

This sounds very similar to the case involving the Hutaree militia here in Michigan. They were arrested three years ago on similar charges but the federal judge overseeing that trial dismissed the most serious charges against almost all of them. A few of the Hutaree folks ended up pleading guilty to weapons charges, but the government could not prove with similar recordings from an infiltrator that the group had actually planned to do some of the things they talked about, including killing police officers.

15 comments on this post.
  1. Reginald Selkirk:

    I certainly hope their constitutional right to bear automatic weapons is not infringed while they are in prison.

  2. Alverant:

    And still no charges of terrorism. I guess you gotta have brown skin to be called a terrorist in this country.

  3. jba55:

    @2 No no no, I bet a Muslim who was also white would get called a terrorist. Possibly without even doing anything.

  4. shouldbeworking:

    They didn’t want to strike terror into anyone. They just wanted to kill their oppressors.

  5. Modusoperandi:

    …Schaeffer Cox…

    *giggle*

  6. Raging Bee:

    I guess you gotta have brown skin to be called a terrorist in this country.

    Doesn’t Bradley Manning count?

    Of course, there’s still a bit of hypocricy in not sending these loons (or the anti-abortion terrorists for that matter) to either Gitmo or one of those undisclosed “black sites.”

    PS: I wonder if Todd Palin’s AIP have any connection to this lot…

  7. John Pieret:

    This sounds very similar to the case involving the Hutaree militia here in Michigan. They were arrested three years ago on similar charges but the federal judge overseeing that trial dismissed the most serious charges against almost all of them.

    Umm … did the Hutarees threaten to kill a Federal judge? Not for nuthin, but that might make a difference.

  8. noastronomer:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,…”

    Apparently not.

    Mike.

  9. footface:

    They must not have had their Citizen of Heaven driver’s licenses. Or whatever it is that’s supposed to make you immune from prosecution.

  10. Zeno:

    Did any members of the Palin family get caught in the sweep? (Only a matter of time.)

  11. =8)-DX:

    26, 12… that’s for murder, no? It’s a kind of victory that this needed to be prosecuted, but I’m just overwhelmed by the years. But then I guess there’s no rehabilitation institutions in the US to take care..

  12. democommie:

    Meantime, in the lower 48:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/james-yeager-ceo-start-killing-people-gun-permit_n_2459456.html

    and

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/us/keith-ratliff-gun-enthusiast-of-fpsrussia-is-shot-to-death.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=feed&_r=0

    Yes. What we need is even MORE gunz owned by KKKrazzee and pissed off people.

  13. caseloweraz:

    HuffPost: “James Yeager, CEO Who Threatened To ‘Start Killing People,’ Has Gun Permit Suspended”

    CEO — Chief Execution Officer?

    I wonder how many guns he has/had.

  14. caseloweraz:

    “For him not to pull out that gun and try to defend himself, he had to feel comfortable around somebody,” [Ratliff's] wife, Amanda, told a television channel in Lexington, Ky., where he used to live. “Either that or he was ambushed.”

    Which of course is one reason why law-abiding citizens toting guns won’t necessarily reduce one-on-one gun violence. The citizen is not expecting to have to shoot; he has his gun in a holster. The criminal has the gun in his fist, ready to snap off a shot.

    In a case of mass murder like Sandy Hook, a gun in the hands of a citizen could make a difference. But it’s no sure thing.

  15. eric:

    Bee @6

    Of course, there’s still a bit of hypocrisy in not sending these loons (or the anti-abortion terrorists for that matter) to either Gitmo or one of those undisclosed “black sites.”

    Not sure what the hypocrisy is. Presumably, we use those things for cases where (a) we want to learn some secret the accused knows, or (b) we don’t think we can prosecute them in the regular system. I’m guessing these guys know nothing of value and left lots of evidence lying around.

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