***Warrant Invalid, say Weaver's Lawyers*** ***Suspect given wrong date, says clerk*** [fr
***Warrant Invalid, say Weaver's Lawyers***
***Suspect given wrong date, says clerk***
[from the Seattle Times, April 23, 1993]
Firearms - Politics
BOISE, Idaho - The defense in the murder-conspiracy trial of
Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris continues to hammer away at the
criminal charges that led to a bloody shootout and an 11-day
siege at Weaver's Idaho cabin.
The Aug. 21 shootout started when federal officers were trying to
arrest Weaver on a weapons charge and charge that he failed to
appear in court. One federal marshal died in that shootout.
In the eight day of trial yesterday in U.S. District Court here,
defense attorneys continued to question the validity of the
failure-to- appear count.
Weaver and Harris are accused of murdering Deputy Marshal William
Degan, Quincy, Mass., in the initial shootout. Weaver's son,
Samuel, 14, also died in that firefight, and Vicki Weaver, 42,
was killed by a sniper the next day.
A court clerk testified he advised U.S. District Judge Harold
Ryan that Weaver was given the wrong court date, before Ryan
issued a warrant for Weaver's failure to appear. But under
further questioning by Prosecutor Ronald Howen, clerk Ronald
Haberman was less definite. "I'm saying I communicated that to
judge Ryan," Haberman told Howen. "But I'm not sure when or
how." Ryan signed the warrant that set in motion events leading
to the violent confrontation.
Earlier, federal probation officer Karl Richins admitted that
while court officials advised him the Weaver should appear for
trial on Feb. 20, 1991, he mistakenly told Weaver the date was
March 20, 1991. The government obtained a Feb. 20, 1991,
fugitive warrant for Weaver.
But late in the day, prosecutors used the testimony of U.S.
Attorney Maurice Ellsworth to support their claim that the
Weavers had long conspired to force an armed confrontation with
Ellsworth quoted a letter sent to him just before the trial was
scheduled and signed by Weaver's wife saying, "Whether we live or
whether we die, we will not bow to your evil commandments." He
turned the letter over to federal investigators. But the
investigating marshal, William Mays, said he told Ellsworth he
did not find the letter threatening.
Spence said Weaver's wife was merely complaining about the unfair
treatment of her husband. And he objected to the prosecution's
attempt to link a letter from Vicki Weaver to her husband.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank