Huron man back home, Sandusky man still behind bars in militia case

A Huron man allegedly part of the Michigan-based Hutaree that officials say plotted to kill police officers was released Tuesday. District Judge Victoria Roberts ordered Jacob Ward to be released to his mother, Nadine Bober, after being held in jail since March 27. He'll continue to be electronically monitored with an ankle bracelet.
Melissa Topey
May 19, 2010

 

A Huron man allegedly part of the Michigan-based Hutaree that officials say plotted to kill police officers was released Tuesday.

District Judge Victoria Roberts ordered Jacob Ward to be released to his mother, Nadine Bober, after being held in jail since March 27.

He'll continue to be electronically monitored with an ankle bracelet.

Also released was David Stone Jr. and Tina Stone, the son and wife of David Stone, who officials say was the ring leader in plotting against the government.

Defense attorneys for the nine arrested militia members have been fighting for their release since March 30.

Ward's attorney Christopher Seikaly said he and Ward were ecstatic about the news.

"They don't make anything easy. Now we get down to what (the case) comes down to," Seikaly said.

He said Ward has been a perfect gentleman during the process.

Seikaly said more members are expected to be released soon and Ward's release was simply a matter of timing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Falvey Jr. said he dropped his opposition to the release of the three after being assured their freedom would be very limited. The defendants can go to work, see their lawyers and keep medical appointments, but not much else.

''Our (initial) understanding was it was just home detention with a curfew. Our fear was that was not going to limit their movement,'' Falvey said. ''It may be a distinction without a difference. It just wasn't clear to us.''

They are not allowed to talk to other codefendants or other members of the Hutaree without counsel present. They are also prohibited from contact with other members of militias or paramilitary groups.

Attempts to contact Ward's family at their home were unsuccessful.

Most neighbors on Wilbor Street were unconcerned about Ward's return, including Virginia Slavka.

"They've been there a long time; they're very quiet," she said.

Seikaly said he received requested discovery Tuesday that included 91 CDs. He started listening to those recordings -- the first of which is 220 minutes long.

Ward's release will make it easier for him to work with his attorney on their defense strategy, Seikaly said.

Seikaly also expects to receive transcripts of the CDs from the prosecutor's office, which will help in sorting through the evidence.

Federal authorities have been investigating the Hutaree, based in Lenawee County in eastern Michigan, since August 2008. They discovered the militia conducted regular meetings in Michigan and performed military-style training.

The group allegedly planned to carry out possible acts sometime in April, which included killing a police officer and then attacking more officers with improvised explosive devices during the funeral procession.

It was all part of a plan to initiate a widespread uprising against the government, federal agents have said.

The suspected militia members face charges including seditious conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.