Ahead of Sentencing, Schaeffer Cox Being Held in Washington
FAIRBANKS — Convicted Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox is being held in Washington state while awaiting sentencing in November, according to U.S. Marshals.
Cox’s new lawyer lives in Washington.
Sentencing hearings for Cox and co-defendants Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon and Coleman Barney are scheduled for this fall in Anchorage, starting with Barney in September. The other hearings are in November.
Cox’s co-defendants remain jailed in Alaska.
A federal jury in June convicted Cox and Lonnie Vernon of charges associated with their plot to kill government officials.
Cox was found guilty on nine counts, including conspiracy to commit murder and owning illegal weapons. The jury acquitted him on two weapons charges.
Fairbanks attorney Nelson Traverso represented Cox at trial, but Traverso has since withdrawn, citing dissatisfaction from Cox in his representation.
Seattle attorney Peter Camiel now represents Cox, who is incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center, SeaTac, near Seattle.
Vernon, of Salcha, was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and hand grenades. The jury acquitted him of carrying firearms during a crime of violence.
Another co-defendant, Coleman Barney, of North Pole, was convicted on two weapons charges in the joint trial, which was held in Anchorage. Jurors deadlocked on the murder conspiracy charge against Barney, and prosecutors decided not to retry him. Barney has said he intends to appeal his conviction.
Vernon, along with his wife, Karen, also are awaiting sentencing in a separate case involving their own plot to kill federal officials over a tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service.
The Vernons pleaded guilty Monday as part of a plea agreement. Under the agreement, Lonnie Vernon will be sentenced to a combined sentence of 22 5/6 to 27 1/4 years for the tax-related conspiracy case and the murder conspiracy case involving Cox, and Karen Vernon will be sentenced to no more than 15 2/3 years. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan will determine the sentence within the parameters of the plea agreement.