Anchorage, AK - Schaeffer Cox, 28, the leader of the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia and onetime candidate for the Alaska House of Representative was sentenced to almost 26 years in prison for a plot to kill government employees. The leader of the anti-government militia once proclaimed that "God's law" trumps "man's law" was sentenced on Tuesday.
Reuters reports that at a hearing in federal court in Anchorage Cox said:
"Well, I put myself here, with my own words, and I feel horrible about that, and I hurt my family, and that's who's really paying, and I feel horrible about that. I put a lot of people in fear by the things I said and the crazy stuff that was coming out of my mouth."
Last summer Cox was convicted of conspiring to murder federal and state government officials, including judges and law enforcement agents as well as soliciting others to commit murder and related weapons charges. Cox spent two days on the witness stand. During that time, he told the jury his philosophy and compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and Ghandi. He said he believed that government agents were planning to kill him and he was justified to take action to defend his family.
On Tuesday's sentencing, Cox negated those statements. He and his attorney cited a post-trial psychological evaluation that said Cox had paranoid schizophrenia, delusions and a paranoid personality disorder.
According to Yahoo News, US District Court Judge Robert Bryan, who imposed the sentence, said he agreed Cox probably was mentally ill but that did not excuse his actions. Bryan said, "I want to note that he has never been so ill as to not be able to have followers and convince people to follow him. Cox could have been given a life term but was sentenced to 310 months.
Cox's followers also received sentences Monday. Lonnie Vernon, was convicted of murder conspiracy and weapons charges and sentenced to 310 months also. Vernon's wife, Karen, received 12 years for her role. Last September Coleman Barney, 38, was sentenced to five years in jail for weapons charges.