State Trial Of AK ‘Sovereign Citizens’ May Be Delayed Until Next Year

Attorneys for the group of Alaska sovereign citizens who allegedly plotted to murder a federal judge are pushing for the trial to be delayed until after the federal charges against them have been resolved.Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney, Lonnie and Karen Vernon, and Michael O. Anderson are all facing a number of charges related to an alleged plot by Cox, leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, to murder a U.S. District Judge, an IRS employee, and two state troopers.

In a hearing Friday, the attorneys for Cox, Karen Vernon, and Anderson asked the court to consider delaying the trial until April, after the federal trials which will take place in February and March.

Lonnie Vernon is currently between attorneys, after his old one withdrew because he had previously served as counsel for one of the witnesses.

But Barney’s lawyer objected, arguing that Barney shouldn’t have to spend nine months in prison without a trial. From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

[Superior Court Judge David C. Stewart] agreed to reduce Barney’s bail from $2 million to $100,000 on Friday, citing Barney’s strong community ties and the willingness of his brother to serve as a custodian.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the federal charges would make that a moot point, however, because of confusion over whether Barney was required to post bail on those charges. Attorneys on the federal case couldn’t be reached Friday afternoon to clarify Barney’s situation.

All five suspects are facing a number of charges at the state level, including “conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit arson, misconduct involving weapons in the third degree, hindering prosecution in the first degree and tampering with evidence.”

Full coverage of the trial here.