Sandusky militia man released from jail

Another local man accused of plotting to attack police officers in an attempt to overthrow the government is back at home. Sandusky resident Kristopher Sickles returned home Wednesday evening. He will be electronically monitored 24 hours a day, like Jacob Ward, Huron, Tina Stone and David Stone Jr., who were released under the same conditions Tuesday.
Melissa Topey
May 20, 2010

 

Another local man accused of plotting to attack police officers in an attempt to overthrow the government is back at home.

Sandusky resident Kristopher Sickles returned home Wednesday evening. He will be electronically monitored 24 hours a day, like Jacob Ward, Huron, Tina Stone and David Stone Jr., who were released under the same conditions Tuesday.

''I'm very excited. This is the first step. God will see us through,'' his wife, Kelly Sickles, said after the hearing.

At her home Wednesday evening, Kelly said she was happy but added the family is under a court order not to speak further with the media. She referred all other questions to their attorney, Henry Scharg.

He did not return phone calls to his office.

Authorities arrested nine Hutaree militia members in March. They are all charged with conspiring to commit sedition and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. Five other members of the group remain in jail, and prosecutors have asked the Sixth District Court of Appeals to keep them there while they await trial on Nov. 4.

While some neighbors expressed concern at the news of Sickles' arrival, others said it didn't bother them.

Neighbor Anthony Blake said he was surprised but not concerned. He said he's been judged by people who didn't know him, and he wouldn't judge Sickles.

Sickles coincidentally appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Scheer for instructions about his release, the same judge who ordered the nine to jail on April 2, citing a threat to public safety. That decision led to a series of challenges by defense lawyers and prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts overruled Scheer on May 3 and said all could go home with electronic monitors until trial. The appeals court suspended her order while it considers an appeal by the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit. It is expected to rule by early June.

''We believe the conditions will reasonably ensure the safety of the public,'' assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Falvey Jr. said in explaining why he stopped opposing Sickles' release.

Sickles, 27, must stay at home unless he's at work, church, court or a medical appointment. His wife told Scheer she ''wouldn't have a problem'' reporting any violations.

Sickles left court carrying his 4-year-old son, got into a car and gestured a thumbs-up. His wife joked that they were going to Disney World.

In a phone interview from jail on April 17, Sickles told The Associated Press he had ''never hurt anyone or taken steps to do so.''

He said he joined the group to learn how to protect his family.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

''As far as any specific plan to overthrow the government, I never heard such things,'' he said. ''There was off-color talk, but there was no set plan to overthrow this or take over that.''

Those still in jail are 44-year-old militia leader David Stone and his 21-year-old son, Joshua Stone, both of Lenawee County, Mich.; Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; Michael Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich.; and Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.