Family Defends Christian Militia Group, Says Hutaree Did Nothing Wrong

Fiancee: 'If They Wanted to Do Something, They Would Have Done It Already'

ABC News/March 30, 2010

The fiancee of one of the members of a Christian extremist group arrested this week in a federal raid defended the Hutaree, saying that if group members had had plans for violence, "they would have done it already."

The last of the nine Hutaree members indicted in an alleged plot to kill law enforcement officers with improvised explosive devices was arrested late Monday. The Michigan-based militia group had been preparing its alleged attack for months and was getting ready to move, authorities say.

But Brittany Bryant, who is engaged to David Stone Jr., son of the Hutaree's leader and one of the members arrested in the sweep, said federal officials got it wrong.

"I don't think they're dangerous," Bryant said. "They're not doing anything wrong. They're doing what they want to do.

"If they wanted to do something," she said, "they would have done it already."

According to court documents, however, the Hutaree, led by David Stone, had spent months researching explosives on the Internet and gathering supplies for an elaborate plan in which the group allegedly planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then ambush the officer's colleagues at the funeral.

Stone's former wife, Donna Stone, said he has "got a temper.

"He can get radical and he wants things done his way," she said. "One way or the other, they will get done his way is the way he looks at everything."

Federal authorities rounded up eight Hutaree members in a three-state raid Sunday and nabbed fugitive Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, Monday after a standoff in which authorities played messages from his family over a loudspeaker.

Michigan Militia volunteer Matt Savino told "Good Morning America" that Joshua Stone was trying to regroup after having left his supplies when he fled Sunday's raid.

"Essentially, his words were he's looking for a place to go to hide out to set up some kind of defensive organization," Savino said, "and look for weapons, gear, supplies and whatnot because all of his supplies were at their home that was being raided by the ATF."

Also in custody are David Stone's wife, Tina Stone, 44, and his son, David Brian Stone Jr., 19, of Adrian, Mich., as well as Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich., Michael Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich., Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., Krisopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.

Based in Lenawee County, Mich., the Hutaree is described by officials as an extremist group. Its Web site says the name means "warriors of God" and claims it is preparing to defend itself for the impending arrival of the anti-Christ.

Most of the Hutaree members arrested had aliases, such as "Pale Horse," "Azzurlin" and "Guhighllo." David Stone's listed aliases were "RD," "Stonewall" and "Captain Hutaree."

Hutaree: Militia Group Planning to Defend Against Satan

Court documents charge that the group had plotted as the Hutaree since 2008. David Stone researched explosive devices on the Internet and directed son Joshua Stone and others to gather the necessary materials, authorities said.

In June 2009, authorities allege, Stone and his youngest son David Stone Jr. began teaching other Hutaree how to make and use the explosives to have been used during the officer's funeral procession.

Some members of the Hutaree are identifiable by tiger-striped camouflage uniforms and a shoulder patch consisting of a black cross, two brown vertical pillars to form the letter "H" with the cross, two red spears and a brown V shape, according to court documents.

Michael Lackomar, the leader of Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said several members of the Hutaree, who have trained with his group on occasion, showed up on the doorstep of one of his colleagues shortly after the raid.

"They were asking for a place to hide as it were and he wasn't willing to assist them in that manner," Lackomar said.

A person claiming to be a member of the Hutaree posted a message online pleading for help and claiming that officials "broke into homes and took children and used the tasers on wives ... AND my son who is 12."

Despite the connection between the groups, Lackomar said the Hutaree are not truly part of the militia movement.

"They believe that this is the end of the world as prophesied by the Bible and it is their duty to take up arms to fight alongside Jesus against the impending forces of Satan," he said.

"We are community-based," Lackomar said of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia. "We are willing to accept anybody that lives among us that wants to protect themselves, their neighborhood, wants to help out in times of emergency."

Going after a group like the Hutaree can be dangerous, ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett said.

"This crowd tends to be heavily armed and they are all conspiracy theorists that the government is trying to take over," he said. "And so you have to be very careful and cautious when starting arresting people like this because you can walk right into an ambush."

ABC's Tahman Bradley contributed to this report.

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