Cox, Vernon Found Guilty Of Conspiracy To Murder Government Officials

An Anchorage jury has found Alaska Peacekeepers Militia leader Schaeffer Cox guilty of conspiracy to murder government officials. The jury returned verdicts on 15 counts against Cox and his co-defendants Lonnie Vernon and Coleman Barney on Monday, but could not reach a decision on one additional count.  Lonnie Vernon was also found guilty of conspiracy to murder government officials, while Cox was judged guilty of soliciting others into a murder plan.  Federal prosecutor Steve Skrocki said he’s pleased with the outcome of the week’s-long trial.

“We feel that the jury gave the evidence a very thorough and fair review. It was a complicated case. As the court said, they were spending a lot of time and a lot of attention throughout the case for five or six weeks. So we’re satisfied with the verdict, yes.”

Jurors could not reach unanimous agreement on one count of conspiracy to murder government officials against Coleman Barney.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan told those in the courtroom that he would declare a mistrial on that one count.

Cox, Barney and Vernon were found guilty on a number of weapons charges, such as possessing Hornet’s Nest grenade launchers, silencers and machine guns. But all three were found not guilty on possession of firearms on some of the counts.

“It appears that the jury wasn’t provided with sufficient evidence in their view to convict them on the use of a firearm in connection with some of these charges, and that’s something we can’t speculate about, but in terms of conspiring and sort of being the leader of what was going on with the case, they did seem to find that, based on their verdicts. “

After the verdicts were read, Cox blurted out “The prosecution with-held evidence!,” but Judge Bryan silenced him.

Cox then stared steadily at his wife, who was seated in the gallery.  Prosecutor Skrocki said he had no comment on Cox’s outburst.

Sentencing is set for late September.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen