Nine members of an anti-government militia who saw themselves as Christian soldiers allegedly planned to kill law enforcement officials and launch an attack to kill funeral mourners, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Monday.
The nine people -- six from Michigan, two from Ohio and one from Indiana -- face federal charges of seditious conspiracy, attemped use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive devices and and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the indictment.
All nine -- including a couple and their two sons -- are allegedly members of an armed group called the Hutaree, which declares on its Web site that the group is "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."
The indictment includes the alleged leader of the group, David Brian Stone, 45, who is also identified as "RD," making him the Radok, or top-ranking leader of the group. The others charged are his wife, Tina Stone, 44; two sons 21-year-old Joshua Matthew Stone, and 19-year-old David Brian Stone, Jr. and five other men.
The indictment alleges that the group planned to kill a member of local law enforcement, then attack mourners with improvised explosive devices. Mr. Stone allegedly sought information about the devices over the Internet, then sent diagrams to a person he believed could construct them.
Attorney General Eric Holder called the plot "an insidious plan by anti-government extremists to murder a law enforcement officer."
"Thankfully, this alleged plot has been thwarted and a severe blow has been dealt to an dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States,” he said in a statement.
Seven defendants had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Michigan on Monday morning, and an eighth is in custody. Joshua Stone is a fugitive, according to the Department of Justice.
Kelly Sickles, the wife of one of the indicted men, Kristopher Sickles, denied that her husband was guilty of wrongdoing. While he occasionally trained with a local militia group, he had no idea of plans to attack anyone, she told the AP.
On the group's scripture-heavy Web site, the group calls themselves "Christian soldiers" and declares: "We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming."
The group had its own hierarchy, with the rank of "Radok," followed by "Boramander" and "Zulif." A video on the site shows heavily armed men in camouflage running through the woods firing weapons mounted with scopes. A message scrolls across the screen: "Training April 24 contact headquarters immediately." A link titled "Beast Watch" lists various observations about the Rapture.