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Published: Wednesday, 3/31/2010

Ninth suspect accused in militia plot appears in federal court

BLADE STAFF

DETROIT - Joshua Stone, the ninth member of a Christian-based militia group accused in a terrorist plot to kill a police officer and then bomb his funeral to kill more, appeared briefly in federal court Tuesday afternoon in Detroit.

He was assigned a court-appointed attorney and ordered detained for another night. His arraignment and bond hearings were scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, said Gina Balaya, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit.

Mr. Stone's father, David, is said to be the leader of a Christian-based, anti-government group based in Clayton, Mich., called the Hutaree.

The group is said to believe that the end times of biblical scripture are near and to be training as soldiers for a fight alongside Jesus Christ.

The federal government accused the nine of training for more than a year to kill a law enforcement officer and then bomb his funeral procession, where other law enforcement were likely to be in attendance.

The group then planned to retreat, possibly to Clayton, for a battle with authorities that the group hoped would spark a wider uprising and national rebellion, according to Barbara McQuade, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Joshua Stone was the last if the nine arrested after he surrendered around 8:15 p.m. Monday to law enforcement agents in Wheatland Township, Michigan, just outside Hillsdale, and about 20 miles from Clayton. The other eight were arrested over the weekend as the FBI raided their homes.

The charges for the nine include seditious conspiracy - plotting to levy war against the United States - possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, teaching the use of explosives, and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction - homemade bombs.

Indicted were David Brian Stone, Sr., 45, his wife, Tina Mae Stone, 44, his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, all of Clayton, and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., 19, of Adrian; Joshua John Clough, 28, of Blissfield; Michael David Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich.; Thomas William Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind.; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, and Jacob J. Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.

There have been two weddings in the Stone family recently, that of David Stone Sr. and Tina Stone as well as that of Joshua Stone. Wedding photos were posted on family members' MySpace and Facebook pages.

Some of the photos show them wearing camouflage and carrying guns at the events.



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