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Indictment: Militia planned to murder officer, attack funeral

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Hutaree group called 'anti-government'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Brother of suspect denies knowing of sibling's involvement in plot to kill law officers
  • Hutaree Web site: "Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword"
  • Indictment: Leader contacted someone he thought was bombmaker, requested four
  • Militia hoped attack would instigate wider uprising against government, authorities say

(CNN) -- "Captain Hutaree," his wife and two sons planned with other militia members to kill a law enforcement official to draw the officer's colleagues to the funeral, authorities say. Then, according to an indictment unsealed Monday, the militia planned to attack the funeral procession to kick off its war against the U.S. government.

Members of the Hutaree militia, whose Web site says it is preparing for end times to "keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive," have been indicted on five counts, including seditious conspiracy and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

Federal authorities allege militia members had declared war against law enforcement and "foot soldiers" of the federal government. They had conducted "military-style training" in Lenawee County, Michigan, about 35 miles northwest of Toledo, Ohio, since 2008, the indictment said.

The group's Web site outlines the militia's philosophy: "Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment. The only thing on Earth to save the testimony and those who follow it are the members of the testimony, till the return of Christ in the clouds."

The group's leader, David Brian Stone -- aka "Joe Stonewall" or "Captain Hutaree" -- allegedly planned to kill a law enforcement officer to instigate a war against the U.S. government.

In a phone interview Monday with CNN, Donald Stone, David Stone's brother, said he wasn't aware that his sibling was a member of the Hutaree militia nor did he believe David would set out to harm police officers. "No, I don't believe that would ever happen," he said. "That takes a very dark person."

Donald Stone said his brother, whom he said he hasn't seen in months, is employed in a factory and "works like everyone else. Life's a struggle."

The indictment alleges that killing a law enforcement official would be just the beginning: "As a consequence of this act, law enforcement officers from throughout the nation would be drawn to and gather in the Eastern District of Michigan for the funeral," the indictment said. "According to the plan, the Hutaree would then attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with improvised explosive devices with explosively formed projectiles."

Video: Hutaree 'had to assist Jesus'
... anyone who happened upon the exercise who did not acquiesce to Hutaree demands could be killed.
--Indictment detailing planned April reconnaissance exercise
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The federal conspiracy charges say the militia devised several options for killing a law enforcement officer: after a traffic stop, during an ambush in a rural community, or by "luring a member of law enforcement with a false 911 emergency call." The militia also considered killing a law enforcement official and family members at home, the indictment said.

The intention of the group was that such acts "would intimidate and demoralize law enforcement, diminishing their ranks and rendering them ineffective," the indictment said.

The militia would then retreat to a rally point where it would "wage war against the government and be prepared to defend in-depth with trip-wired and command-detonated anti-personnel improvised explosive devices."

Hutaree members believe, according to the indictment, that their fight would "serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government."

The government alleges that, in preparation for such an uprising, the militia acquired firearms, ammunition, explosives, uniforms, communication devices, vehicles and medical supplies.

The militia also conducted military-style drills, including explosives and firearms training, as well as "close-quarter battle drills." Members also prepared defensive fighting positions, including "ambush kill zones" and storage bunkers, the indictment said.

On February 6, Stone and several others intended to travel to Kentucky to meet with other militia groups, but weather conditions prevented them from reaching their destination. However, according to the indictment, Stone contacted "a person he believed capable of manufacturing destructive devices to provide him with four anti-personnel improvised explosive devices to take with them to the summit."

The indictment alleges that Stone identified law enforcement officers near his residence -- and one in particular -- as potential targets.

Stone announced a covert reconnaissance exercise that was scheduled for next month, the indictment said, adding that "anyone who happened upon the exercise who did not acquiesce to Hutaree demands could be killed." The Hutaree Web site's main page, viewed Monday by CNN, announced an April 24 training exercise and asked visitors to "contact headquarters immediately."

Stone and six co-conspirators engaged in training as recently as February 20, the indictment said, and each used at least one firearm.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade explained the federal raid's timing in a statement announcing the indictment.

"Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time."

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