Schaeffer Cox Trial Underway
Opening statements were delivered in the militia case Tuesday
ANCHORAGE - Were they Timothy McVeigh-like domestic terrorists in the making or simply aggressive critics of federal and state governments?
That’s the argument taking place in U.S. District Court over three Fairbanks-area men who allegedly concocted the so-called "2-4-1" murder conspiracy.
Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon are on trial for multiple weapons violations, as well as allegations of conspiring to kill judges, law enforcement officers and other state and federal employees.
Opening statements were delivered in their case Tuesday.
The federal prosecutors told jurors they would hear excerpts from 100 hours of surveillance recordings, see 70 witnesses testify and have 700 exhibits entered into the record.
Yvonne Lamoureux of the U.S. Attorney's Office says that Cox in particular was clear about his willingness to have people murdered if he or other members of his militia were arrested or killed.
The three defense attorneys tell quite a different story.
The lawyer for Cox says he's young and idealistic and an agitator. The lawyer for Barney says he's a successful businessman with a clean record. And Vernon’s lawyer calls him "by-catch," a man who was just "a warm body in Mr. Cox's organization."
It’s clear the so-called sovereign citizens dislike the government.
Jurors must decide if the trio thought it was reason enough to kill.
Defense attorneys signaled they will challenge the credibility of a government informant who is a convicted criminal.