Friday, March 11, 2011

Schaeffer Cox Appears In Alaska State Court, Bail Set At $3 Million; Bail For All Others Set At $2 Million: Lonnie Vernon Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Charges

Update March 22nd: Grand jury indictment results in a slew of additional state charges. In addition, Schaeffer Cox's bail is not reported to be at only $2 million; updated post HERE.

Update March 18th: Post updated to reflect the fact that the Feds have dumped a whole slew of charges on four of the defendants.

Note: All posts about Schaeffer Cox on this blog can be called up HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

The group which could become known as the Schaeffer Cox Five, all of who were arrested in a coordinated operation on March 10th, made their first appearances in court on Friday March 11th, 2011, and if bail amounts are an indicator, it appears authorities consider Cox the ringleader. In state court before Magistrate Alicemary Rasley, Cox's bail was set at $3 million while the bail of co-defendants Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney, and Michael Anderson was set at $2 million each. Lonnie Vernon was also arraigned separately in Federal court earlier in the day to answer initial charges of targeting U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline; he pleaded not guilty and a detention hearing was set for Thursday March 17th. Lonnie Vernon called the 17-page criminal complaint "hearsay on paper".

The charges are spelled out below. Click on the highlighted name to access the Alaska Court System database record on the individual (note that this has now been superseded by the grand jury indictment; more current list available HERE):

-- Schaeffer Cox (4FA-11-00796CR): One count Conspiracy to Commit Murder, one count Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, three counts Misconduct Involving Weapons in the Third Degree. Charging document HERE.
-- Lonnie Vernon (4FA-11-00797CR): One count Conspiracy to Commit Murder, one count Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, one count Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree. Charging document HERE.
-- Karen Vernon (4FA-11-00798CR): One count Conspiracy to Commit Murder, one count Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, one count Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree. Charging document HERE.
-- Coleman Barney (4FA-11-00799CR): One count Conspiracy to Commit Murder, one count Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, three counts Misconduct Involving Weapons in the Third Degree, one count Hindering Prosecution in the First Degree. Charging document HERE.
-- Michael Orion Anderson (4FA-11-00815CR): One count Conspiracy to Commit Murder, one count Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, one count Tampering with Evidence. Charging document HERE.

Lonnie Vernon's original Federal charging document was available HERE. However, on March 17th, 2011, Federal prosecutors announced a slew of Federal charges against four of the defendants, listed on two separate charging documents HERE and HERE. Note that on both charging documents, not all charges apply to all defendants; read through each count to find out which ones apply to which defendants:

-- Lonnie Vernon:
---- One count Threatening Murder of Family Member of United States Judge
---- One count Threatening Murder of United States Judge
---- One count Conspiracy to Murder Federal Officials
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Firearm and Destructive Device
---- One count Possession of Silencer
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Machine Gun
---- One count Possession of Machine Gun
---- One count Silenced Firearm Used In Furtherance of a Crime of Violence
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices

-- Karen Vernon:
---- One count Threatening Murder of Family Member of United States Judge.
---- One count Threatening Murder of United States Judge.
---- One count Conspiracy to Murder Federal Officials
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Firearm and Destructive Device

-- Schaeffer Cox:
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Silencer
---- One count Possession of an Unregistered Machine Gun
---- One count Possession of Machine Gun
---- One count Making of a Silencer

-- Coleman Barney:
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices

Michael Anderson was not indicted by the Federal Grand Jury and faces no Federal charges.

The arraignments of the five began in state court just before 3 p.m. Each appeared in court individually by video, but were seen on the monitor accompanied by an enhanced security presence. The defendants will enter pleas to the charges at a later date. KTVA Channel 11 news video embedded below:



According to the charging documents, the alleged activities took place at different times during the period October 1st, 2010 through March 10th, 2011. The Misconduct Involving Weapons took place on February 20th, 21st, and March 10th. The Hindering Prosecution took place on February 13th, 19th, and March 9th.

The Anchorage Daily News contains the best synopsis of the situation. The five individuals were involved in what became known as the "241 Plan". This plan was allegedly put forth on February 12th, 2011, two days before the scheduled February 14th hearing which Cox no-showed. Cox allegedly called for his militia to respond to attempts to arrest or kill him by responding against state court or law enforcement targets with twice the force and consequences as happened to him or his family. If he was arrested, two state targets would be arrested (kidnapped); if he was killed, two state targets would be killed. If his house was taken, two state target houses would be burned. The February 12th meeting was secretly recorded by the FBI.

It also appears that Michael Anderson may have been perceived to be the weak link in the group; others began questioning his loyalty after he refused to hand over the list or any of the surveillance he was believed to have gathered. Anderson apparently had second thoughts about Cox's motives.

The assortment of weapons involved is rather impressive. The charging documents state, "FRANCIS S. COX, acting in conjunction with others, began amassing multiple caches of assault rifles and prohibited explosive devices, which by February 23rd, 2011 were known to include a tripod-mounted, belt-fed .50 caliber machine gun, a belt-fed, hand-cranked, tripod mountain .30 caliber machine gun, at least one fully automatic assault rifle, multiple pineapple grenades, at least one grenade launcher, multiple dozens of other high-powered assault rifles and pistols, and thousands of rounds of ammunition."

What's interesting is how the FBI learned of this scheme, enough to have secretly recorded this meeting. The charging documents provide a possible answer. Notice that several of the counts simply identify "another militia member" but do not give a name. This is a standard tactic used to identify an unindicted co-conspirator -- or a possible snitch. Could this "other militia member" be a person who was turned into an informant and sent back into the group by the cops? This remains to be seen.

Rick Svobodny, a deputy state attorney general, said the Department of Law, including the Fairbanks District Attorney’s office, worked with the various law enforcement agencies over the last several weeks in obtaining search warrants for conversations and physical items relating to these people as they related to the charges — conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

The Black Robe Regiment Pastor blog speaks out on behalf of Schaeffer Cox HERE.

4 comments:

  1. What ever happened to "presumed innocent before guilty?"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence

    ReplyDelete
  2. John Wayne, featuring ReaSon3/13/2011 1:33 AM

    (1): Cox is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law, but the law is yet to consider the facts presented in the article. Thus, we are currently viewing them prior to the law, and we draw the obvious inferences. We are permitted to evaluate the evidence and form an opinion, we just cannot compel Cox to do anything based on our opinions. That is reserved for the law.

    (2): I fail to see how anything in this article is contrary to the constitutional presumption of innocence that is Cox's guaranteed right.

    (3): If you're going to cite to authority for a proposition of law, at least cite to cases or an Amendment. Wikipedia is bush league.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder if the heavy hand of Justice will come down equally hard on the unnamed female who sent explicit death threats to all the GOP Senators in Wisconsin.

    Not going to hold my breath, though....

    ReplyDelete
  4. NEXT TIME DON'T ADVERTISE ANYTHING JUST LAY WASTE THESE GOV THUGS

    ReplyDelete