Monday, June 18, 2012

Split Verdict On Schaeffer Cox Militia Trial: Schaeffer Cox And Lonnie Vernon Guilty Of Conspiracy To Murder, Jury Hangs On Coleman Barney

An Anchorage jury has reached verdicts in the Schaeffer Cox miliitia trial after only two days of deliberations. Judge Robert Bryan said he considered the jury at a stalemate on the remaining charge and was clearing the way for verdicts on the other charges to be delivered.

KTUU Channel 2 was the first out of the box with a complete list; the Anchorage Daily News, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and Alaska Dispatch also have stories. KTVA Channel 11 news video embedded below:

-- The Anchorage Daily News has published a detailed graphic documenting each count and the verdict on the three defendants.

Schaeffer Cox was found guilty of a total of nine of the 11 counts he was charged with. Lonnie Vernon was guilty of two of the three counts against him, and Coleman Barney guilty of two counts and not guilty of four others.

-- Schaeffer Cox and Lonnie Vernon found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. Jury unable to reach a verdict on Coleman Barney. Because the jury hung on Barney, the federal government could legally re-try him on the same charge without violating the double jeopardy rule. In fact, Judge Bryan officially ruled the Barney verdict a mistrial. This is how the feds tried Hal Turner three times on the same charge; in the first two trials, the jury deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. In fact, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Skrocki said prosecutors would determine later if they would pursue the charge again in a new trial. Update June 22nd: Skrocki announced that they will not re-try Barney for conspiracy to murder; now perhaps they'll allow Barney an opportunity to make bail before sentencing.

-- Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon all found guilty of conspiring to possess unlicensed silencers and grenade parts, but not guilty of possessing firearms (carrying a firearm during a crime of violence).

-- Schaeffer Cox and Coleman Barney found guilty of possessing grenade launchers and cartridges.

-- Schaeffer Cox found guilty of soliciting the murder of federal officials.

-- Schaeffer Cox found guilty of manufacturing and possessing silencers, possessing grenade parts and two counts of possessing machine guns.

-- Coleman Barney was found not guilty of possessing grenade parts.

Sentencing has been tentatively set for September 14th. Alaska Dispatch notes that Cox and Vernon face possible life in prison, while Barney faces the prospect of five to 10 years in prison for each of the counts for which he was convicted.

Preliminary Reaction: Cox’s attorney, Neil Traverso, and M.J. Haden, public defender for Lonnie Vernon, declined comment. Barney’s attorney, Tim Dooley, said he plans to appeal the convictions. When asked if he would have done anything differently during the trial, Dooley said “There’s the trial you plan to do, the one you actually did, and several months later, the one you wish you did”. He added that he was happy that he had put Barney on the stand in his own defense, but was surprised that the jury came back with guilty verdicts for the other two defendants on the charge of conspiracy to murder.

Preliminary Analysis: The jury went for the worst-case scenario and took the testimony of the two informants at face value despite the unsavory character of Gerald Olsen. It's too bad ordinary people are still so willing to accept the word of the federal government so uncritically. There's no way Cox and Vernon deserve anywhere close to life in prison, and Barney only deserves to be sentenced to time already served plus maybe five years probation.


  1. Just goes to show how well the propaganda machine is working.

  2. ADN's just published a detailed graphic documenting each count and the verdict.

  3. It makes me scared for real people. How can we have any faith in our system?

  4. No faith in our system is possible, since our system is morally and ethically bankrupt. When the U.S. Attorney General is implicated in a scheme to transfer arms to the Mexican drug cartels (Operation Fast and Furious), this means the chief law enforcement officer of the country is irretrievably compromised.

    ______And this is the ONLY way for true change.

  6. FRIDAY 4:30pm UPDATE: The Prosecution just officially announced that they will DROP the CONSPIRACY TO MURDER Charges against Coleman!!!