Alaska militiaman sentenced to 5 years on weapons charges

Amanda CoyneThe New York Times
Coleman Barney and his family. His fifth child was born since he has been in jail.
Courtesy Rachel Barney
Rachel and Coleman Barney at Chena lake, left, and a sketch Coleman made from jail, re-imagining the their reunion in Hawaii.
Courtesy Rachel Barney
Rachel Barney, wife of jailed militia member Coleman Barney, has unwaveringly stood by her husband during his 15-months in jail, and is a constant fixture in the courtroom during the trial. June 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo

Coleman Barney, a command major in the Alaska Peacemakers Militia which broke up after the Feds came in, was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for weapons violation charges.

Barney was among a handful of members involved in the investigation into an anti-government, Fairbanks-based militia with sovereign-citizen leanings. Two of the members, Schaeffer Cox and Lonnie Vernon, were found guilty of the most serious charges against them, conspiracy to murder federal officials, and could now face life in prison. Lonnie and Karen Vernon pleaded guilty in August of planning to kill a federal judge and an IRS worker, crimes they are accused of.

Lonnie is facing 21 to 27 years and Karen up to 15 years.

Cox is set to be sentenced on Nov. 19.

Barney was guilty on just two counts, conspiracy to possess silencers and destructive devices and  possession of an unregistered destructive device, a 37mm launcher with "hornet's nest" anti-personnel rounds.

Barney's attorney, Tim Dooley, said after the verdict that they intended to appeal that conviction.

Barney was found not guilty of four other weapons charges.

Read more about the militia here.