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Federal judge to rule on bond in Hutaree militia case

By the CNN Wire Staff
Prosecutors said David Brian Stone talked of killing any witness who came upon a training exercise.
Prosecutors said David Brian Stone talked of killing any witness who came upon a training exercise.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Judge ends two-day hearing, says she'll rule soon on bond request
  • Prosecutors read transcript in which leader allegedly discussed killing witnesses
  • Defense attorneys say tape is "stupid, hateful talk, but nothing more than talk"

(CNN) -- A federal judge says she will decide soon whether nine alleged members of a Michigan-based anti-government militia should be released from jail on bond.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts finished a two-day hearing Wednesday but did not specify a date when she would rule on the defendants' detention, according to CNN affiliate WDIV in Detroit, Michigan.

Charges against the members of the so-called Hutaree militia range from conspiring to overthrow the government to attempted use of weapons of mass destruction. Attorneys representing them said they should be released on bond until they face those charges in court.

But federal prosecutors argued that the defendants were a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Several of the defendants' family members said Wednesday that they would serve as "third-party custodians," making sure their relatives comply with rules if released, WDIV reported.

Roberts pressed prosecutors to justify their theory that the group was planning an attack, WDIV said, but also expressed concerns about a statement accused group leader David Brian Stone Sr., 45, made about a police officer.

"He said, 'We're going to pop him, guaranteed.' What's that?" she asked.

"Talk. Stupid, hateful talk, but nothing more than talk," said Bill Swor, Stone's defense attorney.

Putting bullets through bodies ain't no easy thing. But hey, do it a couple times, it don't bother you.
--David Brian Stone Sr., quoted from tape
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In earlier testimony, Stone was quoted allegedly talking about killing any witness who came upon a training exercise. "Putting bullets through bodies ain't no easy thing. But hey, do it a couple times, it don't bother you," quoted a prosecutor, reading a transcript aloud in court.

Along with Stone, his sons Joshua, 21, and David Brian Stone Jr., 19, and his wife, Tina Stone, 44, have been charged with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Alleged militia members Joshua John Clough, 28; Kristopher Sickles, 27; Michael David Meeks, 40; Jacob Ward, 33; and Thomas Piatek, 46, face the same charges.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have portrayed the Hutaree militia as a dark-hearted group with evil intent. They said Stone's plan was to create his own country carved from four Michigan counties, then defend that country against attack by the "One World Order" army.

But defense attorneys have dismissed tapes recorded clandestinely by an FBI agent who infiltrated the militia as just talk, and talk protected under freedom of speech.

The group allegedly planned to incite that attack by making a false 911 complaint, shooting any police officer who responded, and then attacking attendees at the funerals of those officers with improvised explosive devices.

Conviction on the charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction would carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, while seditious conspiracy and teaching the use of explosive materials each would carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The firearm charge would carry a mandatory minimum penalty of at least five years in prison, according to authorities.