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Militia trials: Vernons to change pleas in tax evasion, murder conspiracy case

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

According to documents filed in court Thursday, Lonnie and Karen Vernon, of the so-called "241" militia trial, are planning to enter guilty pleas to some of the eight counts against them, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports.

The couple faces charges related to tax evasion, weapons possession and conspiracy to commit murder.

Independent of the "241" militia trial, the Vernons are charged as a couple for allegedly plotting to kill an Internal Revenue Service agent and U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline following the outcome of their tax evasion trial. Judge Beistline was allegedly targeted because he ruled against the Salcha, Alaska, couple.

The Vernons had gone years without paying taxes, contending that that the IRS has no right to collect money from citizens. In total the couple owes about $180,000 in taxes, interest and penalties.

According to the News-Miner, "It's unclear which of the eight counts the couple intends to plead guilty to." Both Vernons face charges of "conspiracy to murder federal officials, threatening to murder family members of a federal judge, conspiracy to possess an unregistered firearm and destructive device, and possession of an unregistered machine gun."

Read a bit more, here, or if you need to catch up on the 241" conspiracy case, find Alaska Dispatch's coverage, here. And read the story behind Vernon and Cox's sentencing, here.