‘TWO FOR ONE’ CASE UPDATE: New Charges Lodged Against Alaskans Accused In Plot To Murder Judge, State Troopers; IRS Employee Also Was Targeted, Feds Say

A federal grand jury has returned a superseding  indictment against an Alaska man accused earlier this month of threatening to kill a federal judge. The grand jury lodged additional charges against Lonnie G. Vernon, while also indicting Vernon’s wife, Karen L. Vernon, along with Francis Schaeffer Cox and Coleman L. Barney.

Each of the defendants has purported ties to the so-called “sovereign citizen” and “militia” movements. Karen Vernon, Cox and Coleman initially were charged only under state law in a case that alleged a state judge and state troopers were targeted for murder or kidnapping.

In addition to accusations that he plotted the murder of U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, Lonnie Vernon, 55, of Salcha, now also is accused of plotting the murder of an IRS employee.

Beistline, Alaska’s chief federal judge, was presiding over a civil tax case involving the Vernons, according to court records. Like her husband, Karen Vernon also now has been indicted on charges of plotting the murder of Beistline and an IRS employee.

In addition, the Vernons are charged with threatening to murder Beistline and his family, and conspiracy to possess an unregistered firearm silencer and grenades.

On March 10, according to the indictment, the Vernons “purchased and received a pistol equipped with a silencer.” They also bought three hand grenades “not knowing at the time that they were inert.”

Lonnie Vernon also is charged with illegally possessing a machine gun and possessing a firearm equipped with a silencer in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.

Francis Schaeffer Cox: The Feds now say he possessed a siliencer and a machine gun.

Cox, 27, of Fairbanks, initially was charged only under state law. He now has been indicted under federal law for conspiracy to possess unregistered destructive devices and possession of unregistered destructive devices. Four additional federal firearms charges were lodged against Cox, including “the illegal manufacture and possession of a silencer and the illegal possession of a Sten machine gun,” prosecutors said.

Barney, 36, of North Pole, was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to possess unregistered destructive devices and possession of unregistered destructive devices.

He initially faced only state charges.

Lonnie Vernon, Cox and Barney acquired weapons because they believed “at some undetermined point in the future they would have to take up arms against the government,” according to the federal indictment.

In February, according to the indictment, Cox instructed Lonnie Vernon to go to “Anchorage to acquire hand grenades” and “obtain C-4 explosive.”

On March 10, according to the indictment, Cox and Barney “met with the person with whom they had placed their order for a pistol equipped with a silencer and grenades so that they could purchase these items.”

Cox and Barney “each received a pistol with a silencer,” according to the indictment. “They also received four hand grenades, not knowing that the grenades were inert. Barney carried $6,000 in cash on his person for the purpose of purchasing additional guns and destructive devices.”

See earlier story.

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2 Responses to “‘TWO FOR ONE’ CASE UPDATE: New Charges Lodged Against Alaskans Accused In Plot To Murder Judge, State Troopers; IRS Employee Also Was Targeted, Feds Say”

  1. The State indictment mentions someone identified only as “Bill” who Cox and friends purchased pistols with silencers and grenades from. The Federal indictment mentions Cox buying silenced pistols and grenades from a dealer in Anchorage. I was reading the Alaska Citizen’s Militia Google group over the weekend and concern was expressed that someone known to the group as DZ or Bill was missing. Someone wondered if they needed to form a posse.

    The Anchorage Press published a story today titled “Missing in Action-Cops raid a Fairbanks militia and Spenard shop owner goes missing.”


    The article identifies “Bill” as William F. Fulton, also known as “DropZone Bill,” who until very recently owned a military surplus store in the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage. The Google group thread indicates that Bill signed over his buisness to an employee and disappeared, the article seems to confirm that.

    It might seem that DZ wasn’t entirely thrilled with how Cox was handling himself:

    “.,..I like Schaeffer, I believe in much of what he stands for (not all but a lot). I will support him to a point, but I will not leave my family fatherless because he likes to poke rattlesnakes,” Fulton wrote. He added that Cox had been reined-in by militia enthusiasts before. “Most of you are unaware that this almost happened last summer too and was defused by quite a few of us. The road that this could lead one down is not the road of a reactive Militia, but that of a proactive one-That is a huge leap to take..,.”

    Sadly, unless he took his family with him it looks like Mr.Fulton didn’t get away from Cox soon enough.

  2. […] addition to the original charges outlined in an the first superseding indictment, the trio now is accused of conspiracy to kill […]