March 26, 1996 in Nation/World

The Original Montana Fugitives

 

LeRoy M. Schweitzer

Arrested

Age: 57

Hometown: Belgrade, Mont.

Profile: Regarded by authorities as the freemen ringleader. Schweitzer, who used to live near Spokane, calls himself chief justice of the freemen’s own Montana State Supreme Court.

Charges: Felony impersonation of a public servant, criminal syndicalism, felony threats and other improper influence in official and political matters.

Daniel E. Petersen

Arrested

Age: 53

Hometown: Winnett, Mont.

Profile: Notary and U.S. magistrate for Justus Township who also teaches freemen classes with LeRoy Schweitzer. His wife, Cheryl Lynn Petersen, lives in Winnett. She occasionally visits Petersen at the township.

Charges: Criminal syndicalism, felony threats and other improper influence in official and political matters and impersonation of a public servant.

Rodney O. Skurdal

Age: 43

Hometown: Broadview, Mont.

Profile: An ex-Marine who claims he was a security guard for President Nixon. Skurdal declared himself a freeman in 1992 when he filed a “Citizen’s Declaration of War.”

Charges: Felony impersonation of a public servant, criminal syndicalism, felony threats and other improper influence in official and political matters.

Ralph E. Clark

Age: 65

Hometown: Brusett, Mont.

Profile: His 1,000-acre ranch became the focal point of the freeman movement after the group took over the Garfield County courthouse in 1994. Ralph Clark wears a silver star and calls himself the township marshal. The home where he and his wife, Kay, live is part of Justus Township. Their son is Edwin Clark.

Charges: Misdemeanor impersonation of a public servant and felony solicitation of kidnapping.

Emmett Clark

Age: 67

Hometown: Brusett, Mont.

Profile: Ralph Clark’s brother and patriarch of the Clark family. Emmett Clark’s wife, Rosie, lives with him at Justus Township. The couple’s son, Richard Clark, also is a part of the group.

Charges: Contempt of court, criminal syndicalism, and felony issuance of a bad check.

Richard E. Clark

Age: 47

Hometown: Brusett, Mont.

Profile: Son of Emmett and Rosie Clark. His home in Justus Township is used as freemen headquarters and the new Montana State Supreme Court.

Charges: Criminal syndicalism and impersonation of a public servant.

Edwin F. Clark

Age: 45

Hometown: Brusett, Mont.

Profile: Son of Ralph and Kay Clark. He acts as a township justice and justice of the peace. His wife, Janet Clark, who isn’t charged, works at a nursing home in Jordan and commutes from the township.

Charges: Criminal syndicalism and impersonation of a public servant

Ebert W. Stanton

Age: 24

Hometown: Brusett, Mont.

Profile: Son of William and Angnes Stanton, who’s farm home was sold at foreclosure auction in September 1994. William Stanton is serving 10 years in prison for his role in the freemen’s 1994 takeover of the Garfield County courthouse. William Stanton also put a $1 million bounty on the sheriff, prosecutor and judge, and threatened to hang them. Ebert Stanton serves as a deputy clerk for Justus Township. He lives there with his wife, Val, and her 4-year-old daughter.

Charges: Felony threats and other improper influence in official and political matters, two counts of obstructing a peace officer.

Dale M. Jacobi

Age: 54

Hometown: Thompson Falls, Mont.

Profile: Bible instructor and Justus Township chaplain. He promotes Christian Identity religious views espousing superiority of the white race. Jacobi was among seven men arrested in Roundup, Mont., in March 1995, and charged with plotting to kidnap a judge. The charge was dropped.

Charges: Felony threats and other improper influence in official and political matters.

Russell D. Landers

Age: 44

Hometown: Iowa

Profile: Among 11 people indicted in Colorado in January 1995 for promoting $300 “We the People” courses that promised enrollees a share of $600 trillion in gold secretly held by the U.S. government. Prosecutors say the scheme raised more than $2 million nationwide. Landers failed to appear for trial in Denver in January and fled to Montana with Dana Dudley.

Charges: Named in a $1 million Colorado bench warrant for securities fraud, conspiracy, criminal impersonation and theft.

Dana Dudley

Age: 46

Hometown: Minnesota

Profile: Also indicted in Colorado for the “We the People” scheme, which held seminars in Montana. Dudley failed to appear for trial in January and fled to Montana. She is accompanied by her daughter, Amy, 18.

Charges: Named in a $1 million Colorado bench warrant for securities fraud, conspiracy, criminal impersonation and theft.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 11 Color Photos


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email