FAIRBANKS — Investigators gathered as much as a terabyte of recordings and other materials in their investigation of Schaeffer Cox and members of his Peacemakers Militia.
Defense attorneys representing the six Fairbanks-area residents associated with the alleged “241” murder plot were asked at a hearing Tuesday to provide two 500 gigabyte external hard drives to store the immense quantity of evidence in the case.
Five of the defendants are accused of plotting to kill law enforcement and state officials. Prosecutors say the five leaders of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia created a plan called “241” (two-for-one) to kidnap two Alaska State Troopers or state judges in response to any attempt to arrest a militia member. They actively planned to kill two if a militia member was killed in any potential conflict, according to the case against them. In federal court, two also are accused of a separate plot to kill an IRS employee and a federal judge over a long-standing tax conflict.
So far, state and federal prosecutors have released a half-dozen documents used to justify the search and arrest of five people and the summons of a sixth, including details of a 10-month FBI monitoring program that used at least two confidential informants.
The complete body of evidence includes more than 100 hours of sound recordings and images seized from the defendants’ computers, Superior Court Judge David Stewart said Tuesday. Stewart is an Anchorage judge in Fairbanks for the case.
Tuesday’s hearing in the large, fifth-floor courtroom at the Rabinowitz Courthouse was the first time all six appeared with their lawyers, a mix of public defenders and private attorneys.
One of the defense attorneys asked Stewart to order search warrants be unsealed. The indictment against the six defendants mentions 16 search warrants that are not yet available to defense attorneys or the public.
Stewart said he will try to grant an order allowing access to the search warrants, although prosecutors will have the opportunity the challenge it.
Also on Tuesday, Rachel A. Barney was arraigned in a separate hearing on felony charges of allegedly harboring Schaeffer Cox when he was a fugitive this winter.
Assistant District Attorney Romano Dibenedetto argued Barney should be jailed along with the other five. Although she has not been accused of planning “241,” she is associated with the other five, which includes her husband, he said.
Prosecutors say the Barneys’ North Pole home was used to hide Cox as well as weapons for “241.”
But Superior Judge Douglas Blankenship ordered Barney released without needing to post bail. Conditions of release include not leaving Alaska and not talking to her co-defendants about the case.
Four of the other defendants are in federal custody without bail. Michael O. Anderson, who faces no federal charges, is in state custody on $2 million bail.
Cox was a fugitive this winter because of a still-unresolved misdemeanor weapons charge stemming from a March 2010 incident in which he allegedly failed to notify a police officer he was carrying a concealed weapon. Cox used the case to challenge the state court system, calling it a for-profit corporation not applicable to him. Cox held his own jury trial in a Denny’s back room with members of his Alaska Assembly Post. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he did not show up at his state trial Feb. 14.
Peacemakers Militia member Ken R. Thesing is accused of “simulating a legal process,” a misdemeanor, for allegedly delivering papers related to the Denny’s trial to Alaska court officials.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.