Militia Trial Continues For Third Day

Prosecutors in the third day of the Fairbanks Peacemaker’s militia trial spent the morning introducing evidence and interviewing an FBI agent about the items that were seized. Throughout the course of the morning, evidence revealed weapons and ammunition that was taken from a white utility trailer belonging to Coleman Barney. The trailer was taken from the Ice Park in Fairbanks to a garage at the airport for inspection by the FBI, ATF and Alaska State Troopers. Photographs projected on a screen showed a white plastic container with 17 grenade bodies and fuses laying inside. A red tote box contained gas masks, bandoleer style belts with magazines of ammunition and pieces of body armor. There were full metal jacket rounds for 9 millimeter handguns, smokeless powder and 37 millimeter launchers with canisters containing pepper spray, or smoke irritants. A few of them were hornet’s nest rounds. A black .223 caliber rifle and 1,200 rounds ammunition were also shown.

During a break, a conflict arose from comments revealed by a juror from King Salmon that she knew the Rockwoods. Paul and Nadia Rockwood were arrested in 2010 based on allegations they had compiled a list of kill targets who they believed were enemies of Islam. Paul Rockwood is in prison and the juror said she had been a house sitter for the couple and had occasional contact with Paul Rockwood through email or letters. She was questioned by the prosecution and defense attorneys as to whether she could be fair to the FBI. She answered “Yes, I believe so.” Steven Skrocki asked Judge Bryan to strike her from the jury. Skrocki was a prosecutor in the Rockwood case and said Paul Rockwood had been charged with international terrorism and calls himself a martyr and a victim. Defense attorneys had no objections to her remaining on the jury and Judge Bryan denied Skrocki’s request, saying “I’m satisfied by her statements that she can be fair.”

In the afternoon, the prosecution brought militia documents and other evidence to the stand that was seized from Barney Coleman’s house.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori