(Reuters) - A Fairbanks-area man convicted of plotting to kill federal judges and other government officials was sentenced on Monday to nearly 26 years in prison, while his wife was sentenced to 12 years for her part in the conspiracy.
Lonnie Vernon, 57, a member of an anti-government group called the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia, was convicted last summer of conspiring to murder federal and state law-enforcement agents, judges and other officials and of amassing an arsenal of illegal weapons to carry out those plans.
In a separate case, Vernon and his wife, Karen, pleaded guilty to plotting to kill U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, members of Beistline's family - including young grandchildren - and other government employees in retaliation for the judge's rulings on the couple's income tax case.
Lonnie Vernon, a member of a "sovereign citizens" movement that considers individuals to be separate nations, spoke out angrily at the hearing, where he received combined sentences in both cases against him.
This is a serious issue. The sovereign philosophy comes in many degrees. It has encroached into our communities under the concept of property rights. Now there is property rights, and then there is property rights. The only way you can tell the difference between the two is by degrees.