8 militia suspects to remain locked up

Associated Press / April 3, 2010

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DETROIT — Eight suspected members of a Christian militia that prosecutors say was bent on sparking a war against the US government were ordered yesterday by a magistrate to remain locked up until trial.

US District Court Magistrate Judge Donald J. Scheer said during his ruling in Detroit that federal prosecutors had provided the court with “very disturbing information.’’

Scheer said that he agreed with defense attorneys that possessing firearms, mistrusting the government, and practicing military exercises are not illegal.

However, he said, “there comes a point when those activities . . . may lead to actions which would constitute evidence of criminal offense.’’

Defense attorney James Thomas, who represents Josh Stone, 21, appealed Scheer’s ruling and expected others to do the same. A hearing is not expected until next week.

Thomas said the charges are serious, but “the indictment is nothing more than a piece of paper.’’

The eight are suspected members of a group called the Hutaree, which is based in southern Michigan’s Lenawee County. A ninth suspect is being held in Indiana.

All the defendants were charged this week with seditious conspiracy, or plotting to levy war against the United States, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, and other crimes.

They planned to make a false 911 call, kill responding police officers, and set off a bomb at the funeral, according to prosecutors.

The Hutaree are self-proclaimed “Christian warriors’’ preparing for what they say on their website is a battle against the antichrist.