Feds: Militia leader told members be ready to kill
DETROIT (AP) — The leader of a Christian militia planned an elaborate, two-part training session for this month and told members it was OK to kill “anyone who might stumble upon the operation,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Friday.
Details about the Hutaree’s planned training session — to be held during the second and fourth Saturdays in April — were revealed in a 17-page document prosecutors filed in response to a defense motion to free Hutaree leader David Stone while he awaits trial.
It, along with several other government filings over the past week, help paint a fuller picture of the southern Michigan-based group’s make-up and activities.
Stone and eight other suspected Hutaree members were arrested after a series of raids across the Midwest late last month and charged with seditious conspiracy, or plotting to levy war against the U.S. The self-proclaimed “Christian warriors” trained in paramilitary techniques in preparation for a battle against the Antichrist.
Friday’s filing included a transcript of remarks Stone allegedly made during a January briefing on the planned operation.
According to the filing, Stone told other Hutaree members that “we are going locked and loaded.”
“If you’re made, somebody comes tripping along, they just happen to see you, we’re gonna handle it as a hostile situation,” Stone said. “That means you put them on the ground.”
Andrew Arena, the head of the FBI in Detroit, has said his office felt compelled to arrest the nine suspects before the April training session because of the potential for violence.
Stone’s lawyer, William Swor, said he hadn’t seen the latest filing but doesn’t see any reason why his client should be jailed.
“The government hasn’t proved that he shouldn’t be free,” Swor said.
Prosecutors claim Stone and the others plotted mass killings of police as a prelude to a larger war against the government. In Friday’s filing and others that trickled out over the past week, they described several ways in which Hutaree members considered killing law enforcement personnel.
According to one scenario, they would place a phony 911 call, kill responding police officers, then set off a bomb at the ensuing funeral to kill many more.
In another, Friday’s filing said, Hutaree members talked about “torching the homes of police officers and then shooting them and their families as they fled their burning homes.”
Swor and other defense attorneys in the case have argued their clients are protected by a right to free speech.
A federal magistrate judge in Detroit has ordered eight of the suspects to remain locked up until trial.
A ninth suspect, Thomas Piatek, of Whiting, Ind., was ordered held by a judge in Indiana but recently transported to Michigan.
Piatek appeared in court Thursday and a not-guilty plea was entered.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts has set an April 27 hearing to consider appeals of the detention orders, but the date could change because of a scheduling conflict with one of the prosecutors.