Fairbanks-area militia members face new charges they plotted to kill a federal judge, a member of the judge's family and an IRS employee, and, as part of a larger group, gathered illegal weapons to carry out the attacks, according to a U.S. attorney.
Karen Loeffler, U.S. Attorney for Alaska, on Thursday announced new charges against four Fairbanks-area residents who were arrested on different charges last week. State prosecutors last week described all four as senior members of the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia.
Loeffler said there were two indictments:
Lonnie G. Vernon, 55, and wife Karen Vernon, 64, were charged with conspiracy to murder a U.S. District Court judge who was presiding over a case involving their unpaid taxes, and with threatening to kill the judge and the judge's family member. They are also accused of conspiring to kill an IRS employee, and Lonnie Vernon is charged with illegally possessing a handgun with a silencer. For Lonnie Vernon, the new indictment replaces earlier charges he alone threatened the judge.
In the second indictment, militia founder Francis Schaeffer Cox, 27, Lonnie Vernon, and Coleman L. Barney, 36, were charged with conspiracy to possess unregistered destructive devices, and other weapons charges. Cox is accused of illegally having a machine gun and a silencer.
All four are described as militia leaders in a separate indictment on state charges filed March 10. That indictment includes allegations that Cox, Barney and the Vernons conspired to kill and kidnap state judges and Alaska State Troopers and burn their homes.
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