Lonnie Vernon, who was convicted of conspiracy to murder federal officials along with militia leader Schaeffer Cox in the "241" murder conspiracy case, has asked that a second murder conspiracy case be relocated to Washington state, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Vernon's second trial, which centers on charges that he allegedly threatened to kill an Internal Revenue Service agent and U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, is slated to begin September in Anchorage. Judge Beistline was handling a tax case against Vernon and his wife over failure to pay taxes for several years.
Vernon's attorney, Assistant Federal Defender M.J. Haden, cited extensive negative publicity in Alaska as the reason behind the move. In a request filed Thursday, Haden said the publicity has caused "irreparable harm in tainting the pool of prospective jurors."
"The events of the previous trial have certainly colored the community's perception in Alaska as far as Mr. Vernon is concerned," Haden wrote. "He has been branded by the press as a domestic terrorist and has been characterized as a tax protester who has no respect for the federal government."