- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DETROIT (AP) — Several members of a Christian militia that prosecutors claim plotted to kill police officers were scheduled to be in court Wednesday to determine whether they will be allowed to go free on bond.

Bond hearings are scheduled for the alleged ringleader, David Brian Stone, and other members of the Hutaree militia, a small group that was preparing to fight the Antichrist.

Mr. Stone, 44, of Clayton, Mich., was among nine members arrested after a series of raids in three Midwestern states, which federal officials said they carried out after monitoring the group since last summer and learning it planned to launch its attack next month.

Each of the suspects is being held without bond, and each has requested a public defender.

It all started inside a trailer in rural Michigan, where Mr. Stone’s family gathered before bed for prayer. Years later, the private devotions had evolved into the Hutaree, a name the group’s Web site says the group created to mean “Christian warrior.”

The changes in Mr. Stone’s personal theology partly destroyed his marriage, his former wife says, and prosecutors claim they later led him to hatch a plot to kill police officers — a violent act the militia hoped would touch off an uprising against the government.

“The time had come that we needed to arrest them and take them down,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Tuesday in an interview with the Associated Press.

Donna Stone, 44, said her ex-husband created the legal problems now faced by her stepson, Joshua Matthew Stone, and her 19-year-old son, David Brian Stone Jr., by involving them in a militia that grew out of his faith.

“I honestly feel, and think, their dad never told either of those boys what they were getting into,” she said. “This a bunch of garbage, these charges. There is no way my son would do these things.”

Ms. Stone said she met David Brian Stone in the late 1990s in a grocery store where she worked. He courted her, and soon afterward, she and her son, Sean Stetten, moved into his small trailer in Lenawee County, near the Ohio state line. The boys were raised as brothers, and Mr. Stone legally adopted Sean, whose name was changed to David Brian Stone Jr.

Both boys were home-schooled, and at night the family would pray together.

“David would preach out of the Bible,” said Ms. Stone, who said she was married to Mr. Stone for about six years. “He would start at the beginning of Genesis and go to Revelations. He didn’t get into Revelations because we didn’t agree on it. David said it was supposed to be different. He had his own views. That’s when I thought it was time for me to go.”

The Hutaree Web site quotes several Bible passages and declares: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. … Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment.”

Ms. McQuade downplayed the role religious ideology played in the group’s alleged plans, saying the “most troubling” finding of their investigation into the Hutaree were the details of its alleged plot. Prosecutors have said the militia planned to make a false 911 call, kill responding police officers and then use a bomb to kill many more at the funeral.

“What we were focused on here is their conduct, not on their religion. And what they have talked about is being very anti-government,” Ms. McQuade said. “They fear this ‘new world order,’ and they thought that it was their job to fight against government — the federal government in particular.”

The group was preparing to carry out an attack sometime in April, prosecutors said, after months of paramilitary training that began in 2008 and included learning how to shoot guns and make bombs. Authorities seized guns in the raids but would not say whether they found explosives.

Ms. McQuade declined to discuss other specifics, including how the group originally came to the attention of authorities or how agents learned about the alleged plans for an attack in April.

Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub in Detroit and Devlin Barrett and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

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