US Alleges Plot to Kidnap, Murder, Burn Homes re Top Alaska Federal Judge, His Wife, Multiple Others

  • Print.

Developing: New charges in a case against five defendants accused of crimes related to an alleged conspiracy to kill the top federal judge in Alaska and his wife describe an expanded claimed plan to kidnap, kill and burn the homes of multiple judges, state troopers and an Internal Revenue Service agent.

The indictments are not yet available but are expected to be released soon, the Anchorage Daily News reported. All the defendants—who include a married couple accused of conspiring to kill Chief Judge Ralph Beistline of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska and Beistline’s wife—are described as leaders in the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia.

The judge presided over a tax case against defendants Lonnie Vernon and his wife, Karen.

Three other defendants face charges concerning surveillance or weapons related to the alleged planned attacks. Indictments have contended authorities found two mounted machine guns, dozens of assault rifles, multiple silencers and grenades.

“This is about people that issued threats, and at the same time they’re issuing threats, they’re holding weapons that are destructive devices and are illegal under the law,” said U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler at a press conference yesterday.

Articles by the Associated Press and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner provide additional details.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly has recordings that are expected to be used in evidence in the case.

The articles don’t include any comment from the defendants or their counsel. One lawyer declined to comment when contacted by the AP.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Feds Arrest 5 in Alleged Conspiracy to Kill Alaska’s Chief US District Court Judge and Family Member”

Updated at 1:19 p.m. to link to AP article.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.