Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bond OK’d for Militia Leader

FORT SMITH — A federal magistrate Monday agreed to release a Washington County militia leader on bond but imposed strict conditions after hearing the man might retaliate against the government.

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent testified he’s worried militia leader Hollis Wayne Fincher won’t show up for trial if released on bond and that he might shoot at police who try to rearrest him.

“Mr. Fincher has made it clear he doesn’t recognize this court and [these ] proceedings as valid,” ATF agent Wade Vittitow said in U. S. District Court in Fort Smith. “He still has plenty of firearms in his possession; we only seized the ones that were illegal. He lives in a very rural area that’s difficult to approach, and if agents have to go back there, they’ll be unprotected.”

Fincher, 60, is lieutenant commander of the Militia of Washington County, a group with headquarters south of Fayetteville. He was arrested Wednesday in an ATF raid related to possession, manufacture and transfer of machine guns. He’s being held on a complaint claiming he was in possession of an illegal machine gun. No formal charges have been filed.

Magistrate Beverly Stites Jones wanted assurances Monday that Fincher has no plans to follow through on published talk of violence against the government.

More at: Arkansas Democrat Gazette (New link - LL)

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