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Originally published Monday, June 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM

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Alaska militia leader, 2 associates convicted

Cox was a charismatic leader who almost won the Republican primary in Fairbanks for a state House seat in 2008, and he came to the attention of the FBI after a series of speeches to militia and conservative organizations in Montana.

McClatchy Newspapers

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Yep. Mister cox for being as well spoken a two year old as I've ever heard still can't... MORE
Isn't Sarah Palin associated with that group? Or was it with a different milita/politic... MORE
""The prosecutors withheld evidence from you guys!" he shouted to the... MORE

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Anchorage jury convicted Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox and two of his confederates of nine federal charges, including conspiracy to kill federal law-enforcement officers and possession of illegal weapons.

As the verdicts were read by U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan, Cox's eyes darted from juror to juror and then to the full courtroom, and he grew more agitated as the guilty verdicts piled up.

"The prosecutors withheld evidence from you guys!" he shouted to the jury.

"Mr. Cox, please," said the judge.

Federal prosecutors charged Cox, 2; Coleman Barney, 37; and Lonnie Vernon, 56, with amassing illegal weapons and with threatening the lives of law-enforcement officials and judges. Cox was leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia, but his ideology was much broader, combining evangelical Christianity, a sense of an impending national collapse and the assertion that the state and federal government held no authority over him.

Cox and Vernon were each convicted of the most serious of 16 counts in their indictment, conspiracy to murder federal employees including law-enforcement officers. The jury deadlocked on whether Barney was also guilty of conspiracy to murder, and the judge declared a mistrial on that count. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

All three men were convicted of conspiring to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices. Cox was convicted of soliciting the murder of a U.S. officer.

The jury rejected all five counts in which prosecutors charged the defendants with carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. But Cox was found guilty on a total of nine counts and Barney and Vernon twice.

Bryan, a visiting judge from Tacoma, set sentencing for Sept. 14, about when he returns to Alaska to conduct another federal trial in which Vernon and his wife are defendants. They're accused of threatening to murder the federal judge who presided over their losing tax case.

Cox was a charismatic leader who almost won the Republican primary in Fairbanks for a state House seat in 2008, and he came to the attention of the FBI after a series of speeches to militia and conservative organizations in Montana.

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