Thursday, May 23, 2013
'241' Informant Gets Lighter Sentence On Mat-Su Felony Charges
An informant who helped bring about the “241” murder-plot indictment was rewarded for his cooperation in a Palmer courtroom Friday.
FAIRBANKS - An informant who helped bring about the “241” murder-plot indictment was rewarded for his cooperation in a Palmer courtroom Friday.
Gerald Olson, 36, faced several felony charges for defrauding customers of a septic tank business, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to second-degree theft.
Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen found that Olson’s work to foil an alleged plot to kill judges and other officials should mitigate Olson’s sentence in the septic tank case.
She put Olson on probation until he pays restitution. She also suspended the imposition of sentence, which means his conviction can be set aside if he completes his probation. If commits another crime while on probation, he could have to serve as much as five years in prison.
A hearing to determine the exact amount of restitution Olson must pay to his former clients will take place in the next 90 days.
The sentencing was attended telephonically by Olson, Fairbanks District Attorney Michael Gray and an FBI agent.
“Olson assisted (the prosecution),” Gray said by e-mail Monday to the Daily News-Miner. “He was given credit accordingly.”
Olson’s help led to the arrest of Schaeffer Cox and four people associated with Cox’s Peacemakers Militia group.
Prosecutors say the group made plans to kill Alaska State Troopers, judges and court officials. The plan was called “241” (“two for one”) because militia members were to kidnap two officials for any attempt to execute an arrest warrant for Cox, prosecutors say. They were to kill two officials for every militia member killed in the event of any escalation.
The other four defendants are Michael Anderson, Coleman Barney, and Lonnie and Karen Vernon. All pleaded not guilty and have been jailed since their March 10 arrest.
Barney’s wife, Rachel, is also accused of harboring Cox when he was a fugitive. She was released on her own recognizance pending trial.
Four of the defendants face additional federal charges. Two are accused of a separate plot to kill a federal judge and IRS employees. The others are accused of owing illegal weapons.
Tim Dooley, defense attorney for Coleman Barney, said Barney said it was Olson who came up with the 241 plan and tried to get the others involved.
“They discussed it because they were shouting him down," Dooley said.
Dooley said he has not yet reviewed all of the hours of secret recordings made in he investigation, but that he has not heard any recordings of Barney conspiring to kill anyone.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.