5 accused of Alaska militia plot plead not guilty

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011

FAIRBANKS — Five people accused of plotting to kill and kidnap local authorities have pleaded not guilty to state charges.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that in a brief appearance Tuesday, the Fairbanks-area defendants were in court together, wearing pink shirts, orange jumpsuits and handcuffs. Previously, four of them appeared separately in hearings on federal charges.

All face at least two conspiracy counts of plotting to murder or kidnap a judge and a state trooper.

Authorities say the group had a plan to resist attempts to detain militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox, wanted for failing to face a misdemeanor weapons charge at a February trial.

Besides Cox, the other defendants are Michael Anderson, Coleman Barney and Lonnie and Karen Vernon.

Also, the state has accused Barney’s wife, Rachel, of hiding Cox.

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