PORTLAND, Ore. — Eight people are ready to stand trial in connection with the occupation of a national wildfire refuge in Oregon. Jury selection starts Wednesday and could last three days. Here’s a look at the defendants:
The occupation leader, 41, of Emmett, Idaho, speaks in measured cadences about the U.S. Constitution and how, in his belief, it limits the federal government’s ability to own public land. He has a wife and six children, owns a fleet-maintenance business and resides on a property that includes an orchard with 240 apple trees.
Ammon’s brother, 43, of Cedar City, Utah, whose facial injuries stemming from being hit by a car as a youth make him easily identifiable. Authorities say he planned an escape from jail and also got into a scuffle with a guard. He and his wife, Angie, have eight children. She maintains a blog that provides an unvarnished look at their family life.
Known as “The Last Holdout,” the 28-year-old from Blanchester, Ohio, surrendered Feb. 11 after a lengthy negotiation that was carried live on a YouTube feed. He talked of UFOs, requested pizza and marijuana, and threatened to kill himself. Defense attorney Per Olson has said a mental health expert will testify that Fry suffers from a personality disorder characterized by paranoia, and it intensifies under stress.
The 47-year-old of Yerington, Nevada, was one of the final four occupiers. He arrived at the refuge Jan. 25, a day before the Bundys were arrested and Finicum was killed.
The 60-year-old from Kanab, Utah, was in the truck with Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum before he was fatally shot by Oregon State Police. Cox sued the U.S government after her arrest, seeking damages “from the works of the devil in excess of $666,666,666,666.66.” A judge allowed Cox to act as her own lawyer but warned her not to question the authority of the court or take other “screwball positions.”
The 50-year-old is an independent broadcaster from Cincinnati, Ohio, who live-streamed the occupation. He contends he covered the protest as a journalist and stayed at the Silver Spur Motel rather than the refuge. A federal judge kept Santilli behind bars before trial, citing threatening remarks made during online broadcasts. Santilli’s lawyer said those comments were just “shock-jock bravado.” On Tuesday prosecutors filed a motion seeking to dismiss the charge against Santilli.
The only Oregonian on trial, Medenbach, 63, has been fixated on whether U.S. District Judge Anna Brown took the appropriate oath of office when she was appointed in 1999. He’s repeatedly brought it up at pretrial hearings and filed a lawsuit on the issue that was quickly dismissed. He’s from the city Crescent.
A former woodworker, the 69-year-old from Los Osos, California, was convicted in 1977 of second-degree murder in the death of his father. The Tribune of San Luis Obispo reported that he has previously written letters to the newspaper criticizing gun control measures.