3 Hutaree Released from Jail

Detroit Free Press
April, 2010

A federal judge ordered the release Tuesday of three members of the Hutaree militia group after prosecutors backed off their demand that the suspects remained locked up until trial on sedition charges.

A fourth member, Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio, is expected to be released today, said Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts agreed to release Tina Stone 44, of Clayton, her stepson, David Stone Jr., 19, of Adrian, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio. They all were released to their parents and will be monitored via electronic tethers while facing dozens of other restrictions, like curfews and no possession of weapons.

"You are undertaking quite a responsibility here," Roberts told Tina Stone's parents, Timothy and Henrietta Kelley. "The court is putting a lot of faith and trust in you."

All three suspects declined to comment after being released.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have been embroiled in a legal battle for several weeks over any of the suspects' release on bond. The back-and-forth motions have spilled into the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals over whether the members of the Lenawee County-based militia group is a danger to the community.

Tina Stone's lawyer Mike Rataj said he's not sure why the government had a change of heart, and that's not really his concern. As for his client: "Forgive me for stating the obvious, but she's ecstatic."

Balaya said the bond conditions agreed to by both sides assured prosecutors of the public's safety.

As part of the bond conditions for the freed Hutaree members, prosecutors agreed to turn over a list to defense lawyers of all known and suspected Hutaree members not arrested during the March raid. The purpose is to provide the newly freed members with names of people with whom they cannot communicate.

Tina Stone cannot use a computer or the Internet as part of her bond conditions. All three freed suspects also are prohibited from using police scanners.

The other six defendants remain behind bars pending the appellate court's review of Roberts' previous order to release them. They are charged with seditious conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

FBI agents arrested the nine members in late March on charges of plotting the violent overthrow of the U.S. government and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.