Sirens & Gavels

Testimony continues in Mich. militia trial

This combo of eight photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday March 29, 2010 shows from top left, David Brian Stone Sr., 44, of Clayton, Mich,; David Brian Stone Jr. of Adrian, Mich,; Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio; Tina Mae Stone and bottom row from left, Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich,; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; and Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., suspects tied to Hutaree, a Christian militia. Jury selection is getting under way in Detroit federal court Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, nearly two years after the dramatic arrest of people who authorities say belonged to a southern Michigan militia with a goal of rebelling against the government. The trial is expected to last weeks. It involves seven of the nine people charged with belonging to a group called Hutaree. The government says they conspired to try to kill a police officer and plotted further strikes. No one was ever attacked, and the defendants say they're being prosecuted for saying stupid things. Joshua Clough, bottom row second from right, is the only defendant to make a deal with prosecutors and could be called as a witness to testify against the Hutaree. ((AP Photo/U.S. Marshal))
This combo of eight photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service on Monday March 29, 2010 shows from top left, David Brian Stone Sr., 44, of Clayton, Mich,; David Brian Stone Jr. of Adrian, Mich,; Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio; Tina Mae Stone and bottom row from left, Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich,; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; and Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., suspects tied to Hutaree, a Christian militia. Jury selection is getting under way in Detroit federal court Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, nearly two years after the dramatic arrest of people who authorities say belonged to a southern Michigan militia with a goal of rebelling against the government. The trial is expected to last weeks. It involves seven of the nine people charged with belonging to a group called Hutaree. The government says they conspired to try to kill a police officer and plotted further strikes. No one was ever attacked, and the defendants say they're being prosecuted for saying stupid things. Joshua Clough, bottom row second from right, is the only defendant to make a deal with prosecutors and could be called as a witness to testify against the Hutaree. ((AP Photo/U.S. Marshal))

This combo of eight photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows from top left, David Brian Stone Sr., 44, of Clayton, Mich,; David Brian Stone Jr. of Adrian, Mich,; Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio; Tina Mae Stone and bottom row from left, Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich,; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; and Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., suspects tied to Hutaree, a Christian militia. (Associated Press)

By ED WHITE,Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — An FBI informant who was embedded with a southern Michigan militia ended his testimony Thursday after more than a week, answering questions that were intended to portray the group's leader as a man with unusual beliefs but who wasn't a warrior against the government.

Dan Murray said Hutaree leader David Stone was greatly concerned about the arrival of the Antichrist and wanted Christians to be ready to defend themselves.

At one point, Murray said Stone believed the federal government was the Antichrist, but the judge struck the remark because it wasn't directly related to a question asked by defense attorney William Swor.

Stone, his wife, two sons and three other men are charged with conspiring to commit rebellion against the government, first by killing a police officer and then attacking the funeral. They also face weapon charges in the trial, which began Feb. 13 and has weeks to go.

Murray, 57, was paid about $31,000 in cash for months of work for the FBI. He secretly recorded conversations while attending meetings and military-style drills in Lenawee and Washtenaw counties in 2008 and 2009. By the end of 2009, three months before Hutaree members were arrested, he wanted to get out.

"I was getting burned out by the whole thing. ... I didn't think there was any more I could get," Murray testified, adding that he never felt threatened by the Hutaree.

Murray, who works for Ford Motor Co., acknowledged that he once tried to bait Stone during a late-night recorded call by saying, "God, I hate the government."

Swor asked if Stone replied: "Me, too."

"I don't believe so," Murray said.

He said Stone on another occasion talked about Christianity and salvation — not fighting the government — during a meeting with a pastor in southwestern Michigan. They had driven across the state to attend a church service but were late.

Murray said Stone feared that the government was planting chips in people through flu shots. He said Stone in August 2009 urged him to go to Selfridge Air National Guard Base in southeastern Michigan to see if German troops had arrived and raised their flag. Murray declined.

Defense lawyers claim prosecutors have turned senseless conversations between Hutaree members into a plot to overthrow the government. They say the talk was offensive at times, but not illegal. Jurors last week heard Stone saying he would kill police officers and their families, although there was no mention of a specific plan.




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