+gt;From the Houston Chronicle (March 2, 1993): Ex-prosecutor laments agents' 'storm troop
>From the Houston Chronicle (March 2, 1993):
Ex-prosecutor laments agents' 'storm trooper' tactics
By Roy Bragg, Houston Chronicle
WACO - Former Mclennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell - who
unsuccessfully prosecuted seven Branch Davidian members for attempted
murder - criticized federal agents for "storm trooper" tactics in
laying siege to the group's compound.
Feazell, himself the target of a federal probe six years ago
and later acquitted of racketeering charges, also predicted a grim end
to the standoff.
"The feds are preparing to kill them," he said, noting the
mobilization of military equipment into nearby staging areas. "That way
they can bury their mistakes. And they won't have attorneys looking
over what they did later at a trial."
Feazell's office prosecuted sect leader David Koresh - then known
as Vernon Howell - and other Davidians in 1988 for a shootout with rival
cult leader George Roden. The others were acquitted and charges against
Howell were dropped after a mistrial was declared.
"We had to arrest them to prosecute them in 1987," Feazell said.
"We had no problems."
In that instance, McLennan County Sheriff Jack Harwell and a
deputy called Howell and told him there were pending charges, that they
would have to turn themselves in and surrender their weapons. Deputies
went to the compound and the Davidians complied, Feazell said.
Later, after the acquittals, the weapons were returned.
"We treated them like human beings, rather than storm-trooping
the place," Feazell said. "They were extremely polite people. After
the trial - although we didn't agree with everything they believed or
said - many of the members of the staff were pretty sympathetic with
Key to the dispute, Feazell said, is understanding the way the
"They're protective of what's theirs," he said. "They're
protective of their land. They view their land as Muslims do Mecca and
Jews view Jerusalem."
The shootout with Roden, he said, occurred when Roden and
followers forcibly attempted to take the Davidian land.
Sunday's siege "was a vulgar display of power on the part of the
feds being met with fear and paranoia on the part of the Davidians," he
said. "If they'd called and talked to them, the Davidians would've
given them what they wanted."
Although he tried to send them to jail for life in 1988, Feazell,
now an Austin lawyer, said he'd help mediate a truce if asked. He
offered to help afterward, too.
"I'd represent these boys for free if they'd surrender without
bloodshed," he said. "But I'm afraid I'm going to wake up and see
headlines that say they all died.
"It's sad for the Davidians. And it's sad for our government."
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