State - Hudson More details emerge about alleged militia members Church where members sporadically attended services speaks out against group

By Mike Householder

Associated Press Writer

HUDSON, Mich. (AP) -- The sign that welcomes visitors to Hudson reads "Small Town, Big Heart."

It was in this tight-knit community 10 miles north of the Ohio boundary that David Stone worshipped and a few weeks ago attended the wedding of his 21-year-old son, Josh.

It's also where, federal authorities say, Stone "guaranteed" that members of his Christian militia would "pop" a police officer.

Stone and eight other suspected members of the Hutaree militia, self-proclaimed "Christian warriors" who trained themselves in paramilitary techniques in preparation for a battle against the Antichrist, are charged with seditious conspiracy, or plotting to levy war against the U.S.

Stone, the suspected leader of the group, and the others were arrested after a series of raids a week ago across the Midwest.

Prosecutors say the group planned to make a phony 911 call, kill responding police officers, then set off a bomb at the ensuing funeral to kill many more.

According to the government, the plan could very well have gotten under way in Hudson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet, relying on information provided by an FBI agent that had infiltrated the group, provided the following account during a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit this past week:

A van carrying Hutaree members in February passed a car on the side of the road with a Hudson police car behind it, and Stone said: "We're going to pop him -- guaranteed."

Andrew Arena, who heads up the FBI's field office in Detroit, said the agency has "talked to the Hudson police several times to make them aware of the possible threat."

"I think there was a scenario where they were driving by, they saw an officer had somebody pulled over and it really got their ire up," Arena said. "'That guy's always screwing with us' kind of a thing."

Defense attorneys William Swor and James Thomas, who represent David Stone and Josh Stone, respectively, say their clients have a right to freely express themselves.

For Donna Spurgeon, whose husband is the pastor at Thornhill Baptist Church, the whole episode is stunning.

David Stone, his then-wife Donna and sons David Jr. and Josh all began attending the church years ago and now attend services every three or four months, Spurgeon said.

They've acquired the nickname the Rolling Stones, "because they just rolled in every so often," she said.

"They did not get the teachings that we have now come to find out that they believe in -- they did not get those teachings here," Spurgeon said. "We do not condone their activities in any way, shape or form, and we were shocked by the allegations. We had no idea. We thought they were hunters."

Spurgeon said she recently went to dinner with Josh Stone and his new wife, and the conversation turned to the Hutaree.

"We believe that when Jesus Christ comes again and when the Antichrist comes that we need to be prepared to defend ourselves, and so we need to also preach the Gospel to those that have heard it. And so we need to make sure we're ready," Spurgeon remembered Josh Stone telling her.

"Then he started talking about 'My dad's in charge. My dad's the highest command, and I'm second-in-command.' And then he started talking about the different ranks and all that, and I didn't understand any of it. ... It was just odd to me."

That opinion is in keeping with the government's contention that Stone was the driving force behind the group and its activities.

"Are there other people out there like him or maybe even more charismatic than this guy? That scares us incredibly," Arena said.

Published: Tue, Apr 6, 2010

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