DETROIT (Reuters) - Nine members of a Christian militia group were indicted on charges of conspiring to wage war against the U.S. government, federal prosecutors said on Monday.
According to the grand jury indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the eight men and one woman were members of a group called the Hutaree that planned to kill a police officer in Michigan and then ambush the law enforcement officers who attended his funeral.
The indictment said the group believed the attacks would “serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising” against the government.
Eight people were arrested by the FBI over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. One of the accused, Joshua Stone, 21, is still at large.
The arrests followed a federal grand jury indictment handed down in Detroit charging them with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
The weapons of mass destruction charge referred to improvised explosive devices with projectiles, the indictment said.
Seven of the eight in custody were arraigned on Monday. On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Donald Scheer will consider the prosecutor’s request that the defendants be held without bail. The status of the eighth person was not immediately clear.
The group's website, hutaree.com, says the term Hutaree means "Christian warrior" and characterizes the group as "preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive." It also features a Bible quotation from John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
The indictment said the leader of the group is David Brian Stone Sr., 45, of Clayton, Michigan, who was among those arrested.
A woman identifying herself as Donna Stone, who said she was David Brian Stone Sr.’s ex-wife, appeared at Monday’s court hearing. She told reporters that her ex-husband’s increasing obsession with firearms had been the cause of the divorce.
She said: “When he got carried away from handguns to big guns, I said, ‘I‘m done.'”
Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Eric Beech