Hutaree

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Hutaree Listeni/hˈtɑr/ is a militia movement group adhering to the ideology of the Christian Patriot movement, based near Adrian, Michigan, in the United States.[1] The group was formed in early 2006. The name "Hutaree" appears to be a neologism; the group's web site says that it means "Christian warriors".[2] The group became widely known in 2010 after the FBI prosecuted them in federal court for an alleged plan for violent revolt. The prosecution said this was to have involved killing a police officer and attacking the funeral with bombs. The presiding judge dismissed these charges. Three members pled guilty to possessing a machine gun and were sentenced to time served.[3]

Beliefs[edit]

The Hutaree claim "we see the end of the age coming quickly, and with it some very rough times ahead, as foretold by God's word"[4]

According to some sources the group is described as practicing survivalism.[5] Most of the members were active voters with unidentified political party affiliation.[6]

The Hutaree has been known to lend assistance to other militias in the past with such things as searching for missing persons.[7]

Many videos posted on the Hutaree's website support several right-wing organizations, politicians, and news commentators. A former fiancee of Hutaree leader David Stone, has claimed that he was a "Ron Paul fanatic."[8]

The Hutaree insignia includes a sword, crossed spears, and the letters "CCR" which stand for "Colonial Christian Republic."[9] Hutaree members use a unique system of paramilitary ranks with titles from highest to lowest: Radok, Boramander, Zulif, Arkon, Rifleman (three grades), Lukore, and Gunner (three grades).[9] University of Pennsylvania linguistics professor Mark Liberman commented: "I don't see basis in biblical or military history for Radok, Boramander, Zulif, Arkon, and Lukore. They sound kind of like Pokémon names (e.g. Arbok, Charmander, Zubat), but there's no precedent there, either."[2]

The group remained exclusively Christian but attempted to maintain relationships with individuals and groups of other beliefs, especially within the militia movement. One militia associate of the group named Matt Savino was denied membership in the Hutaree when he revealed that he was a Muslim. Savino was referred to join the Michigan Militia by the Hutaree who declined him membership but maintained contact with Mr Savino. Savino eventually was elected to be a "Colonel" in the Michigan Militia.[10] Savino later provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which appears to have assisted them in capturing the last indicted Hutaree at large, Joshua Stone.[11]

Criminal investigation[edit]

From March 28 to March 30, 2010, nine people thought to be Hutaree members were arrested in police raids in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana (in Hammond), for their alleged involvement in a plot to kill various police officers and possibly civilians using illegal explosives and/or firearms.[12] An undercover agent played a role in the investigation that led to indictments. Grand jury testimony by a law enforcement officer referred to an "undercover FBI agent" who worked on the case, the FBI declined to comment, but infiltration is a common tactic for law-enforcement officials targeting domestic militia groups.[13] The FBI informant was later revealed to be Hal Turner.[14]

The group was allegedly preparing for what they believed would be an apocalyptic battle with the forces of the Antichrist, whom they believed would be supported and defended by local, state, and federal law enforcement.[1]

On May 3, 2010 a federal judge ordered that all nine members be freed on bond until their trial, saying that prosecutors were not able to demonstrate that the defendants would pose a danger if released.[15]

The United States Attorney's Office stated that the Hutaree allegedly planned "to kill an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attack the law enforcement officers who gather in Michigan for the funeral".[16][17] The press release further stated that nine had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. The indictment said that the Hutaree planned to attack unspecified law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession for an unspecified officer or officers they planned to kill on an unspecified occasion, using unspecified explosively formed penetrator improvised explosive devices (which under federal law are considered "weapons of mass destruction").[17]

Some articles suggested the Hutaree had not yet determined whom in law enforcement they would kill, or even that they wished to kill a law enforcement officer in order to begin a war with law enforcement, while not having any specific target.[18] The FBI was aided in its investigation by members of another militia group.[19]

Members taken into custody[edit]

In order as shown: Tina Mae Stone, Joshua Matthew Stone, David Brian Stone Sr., David Brian Stone Jr., Thomas William Piatek, Michael David Meeks, Kristopher T. Sickles, Joshua Clough, Jacob J. Ward

Nine members of the group that were arrested:[20][21]

  • Tina Mae Stone, 44
  • Joshua Matthew Stone, 21 (a.k.a. "Josh")
  • David Brian Stone Sr., 44, center (a.k.a. "RD", "Joe Stonewall", "Captain Hutaree")
  • David Brian Stone Jr., 19 (a.k.a. "Junior")
  • Thomas William Piatek, 46
  • Michael David Meeks, 40 (a.k.a. "Mikey" )
  • Kristopher T. Sickles, 27 (a.k.a. "Pale Horse")
  • Joshua Clough, 28 (a.k.a. "Azzurlin", "Az", "Mouse", "Jason Z", "Charles")
  • Jacob J. Ward, 33 (a.k.a. "Jake", "Nate")

On May 3, 2010, U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts ordered all nine defendants to be released on bond, over the objection of Federal prosecutors. "The order is silent as to any financial aspects of the bonds. In federal court, defendants are normally released on $10,000 unsecured bonds, meaning they do not have to put up any money." The court ruled that five of the Hutaree remain in custody. The ruling applies to David Stone, Sr., Joshua Stone, Joshua Clough, Michael Meeks and Thomas Piatek. Four other members have already been released on bond. The court ordered that they be placed on electronic monitors.

In addition to being confined to their homes, outside of time spent away from work (or while seeking employment as per standard federal pretrial release conditions), some additional requirements were placed on individual defendants, for example, alleged leader David Brian Stone Sr. is barred from having any contact with Michigan-based militia activist Mark Koernke.[22]

Prosecutors added charges in June 2012 stating that David Stone Sr., Joshua Stone and Clough illegally possessed automatic rifles and that David Stone Sr., David Stone Jr. and Joshua Stone possessed unregistered firearms, charging them with violations of the National Firearms Act. Clough had earlier entered a guilty plea in December 2011 to a weapons law violation in a plea agreement, with leniency suggested in light of his cooperative testimony in the case. David Stone Sr. And Joshua Stone eventually later entered a guilty pleas in March 2012 to some NFA violations as part of a plea agreement.[3]

Trial[edit]

In February 2011, Judge Victoria A. Roberts set a new trial date of Sept. 13, 2011 after defense attorneys asked for more time to review the hundreds of pages of evidence prosecutors have provided them. Attorneys also cited the complexity of the case in asking for a delay. The case originally was to go to trial on February 28, 2011. Roberts first delayed the trial in December 2010 until April after attorneys made a similar request. Defense attorneys argued that statements made by Hutaree were constitutionally protected free speech and not plans for an attack.

In January 2012, a federal judge issued an order granting the defense attorneys' motion to exclude prosecution testimony by an expert drawing parallels between the defendants' beliefs and various conspiracy theories about Ruby Ridge, the Waco siege, the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11, concluding: "It is largely irrelevant to the issues in dispute and what little probative value it might add is substantially outweighed by the risks of undue prejudice, confusion and misleading the jury."[23] On March 27, 2012, a federal judge acquitted seven Hutaree defendants of the most serious charges related to conspiracy and sedition; they were free to go. David Stone Sr. and Joshua Stone continued to be held on weapons-related charges.[24][25] On August 8, 2012, David Stone Sr., Joshua Stone and Joshua Clough were sentenced to time served on weapons-related charges, to which they pleaded guilty, and placed under supervision for two years.[26]

Return of seized property[edit]

After the acquittal of seven Hutaree members, property seized during a March 2010 raid was returned to the owners. Items included a wedding ring, firearms and surplus items of military equipment previously owned by Hutaree members.[27][28]

Seized items that had been returned included hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, numerous weapons and other material, but several items including illegal weapons taken as evidence had been destroyed by the Justice Department rather than returned to the acquitted Hutaree members.[29][30][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US 'Christian militants' charged after FBI raids" BBC, 30 March 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b Hutaree dialect -- rooted in religion or Pokemon?, Detroit News, March 29, 2010
  3. ^ a b [1] Final Hutaree defendants plead guilty to weapons charges - Reuters News Agency
  4. ^ http://hutaree.org Hutaree "about us" page
  5. ^ "Mentality of the Hutaree militia group". Retrieved 2010-04-01. "Dr. Jack Kay, provost of Eastern Michigan University and militia expert, says "Most of the militia groups are truly folks who have a strong belief in survivalism, who believe they need to be prepared to live off the land. They need to be able to defend their property."" 
  6. ^ Troy, Tom (2010-04-01). "Most indicted members of militia group are voters". The Blade. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  7. ^ Higgins, Lee. "Bridgewater Township official turns to militia for help; watchdog groups question decision". 
  8. ^ (March 30, 2010) "Hutaree leader is Ron Paul fanatic ", dailykos, Retrieved March 30, 2010
  9. ^ a b Chambers, Jennifer; Doug Guthrie (March 29, 2010). "Militia members arrested in Sunday raid to be charged today". The Detroit News. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  10. ^ [2] Militia Draws Distinctions Between Groups - New York Times March 2010
  11. ^ "Associated Press - Militia's influence appears limited to close group". 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-02.  Discussion regarding some background information on the Hutaree.
  12. ^ CNN Staff Writers "At least 7 arrested after raids in 3 states ", CNN, March 28, 2010
  13. ^ Kellogg, Alex P. (2010-03-31). "Militia Chief's Mistrust Festered, Friends Say". The Wall Street Journal. 
  14. ^ "Defense in Hutaree militia trial asks for a mistrial". Detroit Free Press. March 21, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  15. ^ Bunkley, Nick (2010-05-03). "Militia Members Released Until Trial in Michigan Plot". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Nine Members of a Militia Group Charged with Seditious Conspiracy and Related Offenses, United States Department of Justice, March 29, 2010
  17. ^ a b "Press release on Hutaree indictment". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  18. ^ Corey Williams and Devlin Barrett, "Militia members charged with police-killing plot" (March 29, 2010), Associated Press.
  19. ^ How The FBI Got Inside The Hutaree Militia, National Public Radio, April 12, 2010
  20. ^ "9th Militia Suspect Faces Charges". Clickondetroit.com. 2010-03-28. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  21. ^ "ALERT: Ninth Hutaree Suspect Arraigned". WXYZ.com. 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  22. ^ The Detroit News, "Judge grants bond for Hutaree militia members," by Paul Egan (May 3rd, 2010 - retrieved on May 3rd, 2010).
  23. ^ In United States v. Stone (E.D. Mich. Jan. 30, 2012) United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Order Granting Defendants’ Motion to Preclude Testimony of Government Expert MichaeL Barkun,
  24. ^ Robert Snell and Christine Ferretti, "7 Hutaree acquitted of most serious charges", The Detroit News, 27 Mar 2012.
  25. ^ US v David Brian Stone, et al., Case No. 10-20123, Honorable Victoria A. Roberts presiding. Order Granting Defendants' Motions for Acquital on Counts 1 - 7. Filed 03/27/12.
  26. ^ Kelleher, James B. "Three Hutaree militia members sentenced in Detroit to time served". Reuters, August 8, 2012.
  27. ^ White, Ed (Apr 20, 2012). "FBI returns wedding ring, gear to militia leader". Daily Telegram (AP source). Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  28. ^ a b "FBI returns guns to Ex Hutaree member Tina Stone-Says jobs scarce despite acquittal". 06/05/2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  29. ^ Baldas, Tresa (August 3, 2012). "Hutaree militia members: Government wrongly destroyed personal belongings". Detroit Free Press. 
  30. ^ "Hutaree militiaman to get guns back Friday". July 6, 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 

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