FAIRBANKS -- The criminal charges against him are false but they might be God's punishment for being too prideful, Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox wrote in a letter from jail that is being circulated among Cox's friends and supporters in anticipation of a sentencing hearing later this year.
Cox was convicted by an Anchorage jury in June of privately conspiring to kill government employees while publicly challenging the breadth of state and federal governmental authority. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
The sentence will be in the hands of a federal judge in Anchorage. Cox's letter, which is addressed to his friends and family, was sent out Friday as an email news bulletin to members of University Baptist Church, where Cox's father is the pastor. Church member Richard Neff is collecting letters from Cox's friends asking the judge for leniency.
The letter takes the form of a spiritual confession and apology.
"To be passionate and full of zeal is good, but I was foolish and full of pride," Cox wrote. "In my foolish pride, I got on my soapbox to wag my finger at the government for every little thing they did wrong. I taunted them until they had enough and manufactured a case against me. While the criminal charges that were brought by man are lies, the spiritual charges brought before God are true," he said.
Cox was a legislative candidate in Fairbanks in 2008 and during the next few years drew crowds of hundreds in Fairbanks and Western states. As part of the sovereign citizens movement, he renounced his U.S. citizenship and created a number of institutions, including the Alaska Peacemaker's Militia, that he said could keep order if the U.S. government fell.
In his letter from jail, he goes on to say it was foolish for him to try to change the world.
"It was stupid of me to think the root problem of our national and individual moral decay could be fixed if the government obeyed the Constitution. And it was double-stupid for me to think that I, through my own efforts, could make a difference," he wrote.
He asked his friends to pray that "God would bring the truth out in this case so (he can) be reunited with his family."