Alaska Couple Pleads Guilty To Plan To Kill Federal Judge Over Tax Ruling
Members of Alaska’s “sovereign citizen” movement, Lonnie (pictured) and Karen Vernon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to kill an Alaskan federal judge, his daughter, his grandchildren, and an IRS officer. The couple amassed a firearm and grenades to carry out the task in retribution for an early ruling over federal income taxes that cost the couple their home. As “sovereign citizens”, the couple did not agree to the payment of taxes, nor to the adherence of federal, state, or local laws.
Tacoma-based federal Judge Robert Bryan presided over the case. During the proceedings, Lonnie Vernon asserted that he was merely exercising his First Amendment right to free speech; Reagan-appointee Bryan admonished “You can’t decide, on your own, that you won’t be part of what the government rules are.”