Schaeffer Cox and two of his followers in the Alaska Peacemaker Militia appeared in court on Monday expecting to file more motions to dismiss the charges against them. Instead they were greeted with additional indictments by a federal grand jury charging them with conspiring to kill government officials, including law enforcement officers.
According to the latest indictment, Cox and company did “knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully conspire and agree together” to “kill, with premeditation and malice aforethought, officers and employees of the United States, including law enforcement officers.”
The maximum sentence for the charges is life in prison.
The charges stem from an alleged plot that came to light in March of last year, when Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon were first arrested. At the time, each was charged with conspiracy to commit murder at the state level, and were indicted for several weapons charges at the federal level. The state charges were eventually thrown out.
Cox is a self-described “sovereign citizen” and leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and Alaska Assembly Post. He also is the “Secretary of Defense” for the national Assembly Post, and Commander-in-Chief” of the “several States of the United States of America.” Barney and Vernon are also “officers” in the Militia and Alaska Assembly Post.
According to the latest indictment, Cox, Barney and Vernon conspired to stockpile weapons, including silencers, hand grenades, grenade launchers and a “Hornet’s Nest” anti-personnel round “as part of their membership in the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and the Alaska Assembly Post, and in furtherance of their collective belief that at some undetermined and unknown point in the future they would be compelled to take up arms against the government.” The indictments also allege that Cox “did solicit, command, induce and endeavor to persuade” Barney and Vernon to kill a law enforcement officer, which carries an additional sentence of up to a 20-years.
The indictment alleges that with the Alaska Assembly Post, Cox formed a military arm, legal arm, judiciary and even his own currency, in preparation for a government take-over or to form a new government in the event of a “government collapse.” Cox also created a list of state and federal government employees — including U.S. Marshals, employees of the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, and Alaska State Troopers — and gathered personal information about them “so that Cox and others could kill them in the event of a ‘government collapse,’” the indictment alleges.
In one November 2010 incident described by court documents, Cox was slated to appear on a local television program in North Pole, Alaska, and arranged for Barney and Vernon to provide him with armed protection based on Cox’s belief that a federal “hit team” was planning to assassinate him in Fairbanks. According to court documents, Barney and Vernon “established a tactical and armed perimeter security force of militia members” around Cox during the interview, which even stopped locals and asked them for names and identification.
In the same month, according to the indictment, Cox paid for 16,000 newspapers ads with the title “Court Fraud! Thousands of Judgments Void” The ads contained information on a public meeting about the “deceptively named ‘Alaska Court System’” that, along with the Alaska Bar Association, “are under criminal investigation. If you have had a case decided without full disclosure of the true nature of the ‘Alaska Court System’ the damages can be corrected.”
In December of 2010, Cox assembled with members of the Alaska Assembly Post in the back of a Denny’s for a “common law court” that would “try” Cox for a weapons charge against him. He was unanimously acquitted by the “jury,” which he brought up in a hearing that same month in District Court in Alaska. He told the judge that the courts did not have any jurisdiction over him.
In February 2011, Cox failed to appear at his next hearing over the weapons charge, and a warrant was put out for his arrest. According to the indictment, he met with members of his militia and “directed the others regarding actions they should take in the event that Cox was arrested for failing to appear. Cox and others developed a ‘2-4-1’ plan that if Cox or any militia members were killed then COX and the others would kill two other people (specifically law enforcement, judges, or district attorneys) in return.”
In the hearing Monday, Cox and the others pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. When the conspiracy to commit murder charge was announced, Cox said “I’m not guilty — and totally innocent,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.
The trial was also delayed until May 7 during the hearing.
Full coverage of the trial here.