Schaeffer Cox

Francis August Schaeffer Cox (born February 11, 1984), known as Schaeffer Cox, is an American political activist, convicted felon, and founder of an organization called the Alaska Peacemakers Militia.[1]

Francis Schaeffer Cox
Francis Schaeffer Cox, 9-27-2017.png
Francis Schaeffer Cox in 2017
Born(1984-02-11)February 11, 1984[1]
OccupationCommercial Fisherman [1]
OrganizationAlaska Peacemakers Militia
Known forMilitia Movement in Alaska
Spouse(s)Marti Cox
ChildrenSeth Justice Argus Cox
Parent(s)Gary and Jennifer Cox

Early lifeEdit

Francis August Schaeffer Cox was born on February 11, 1984 to Gary and Jennifer Cox. Around the year 2000, Cox's family moved to Alaska. He received a high school diploma in May 2003 through a correspondence program. He then briefly studied business at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, before dropping out to start his own small construction company.[1]

Political activities and tiesEdit

In 2008, Cox ran for the Alaska House of Representatives from House District 7.[2]

Cox was a supporter of Sarah Palin, but harshly criticized her support for Real ID in 2008, saying "If Sarah Palin loses who she is, then I won't support her".[3]

Cox was a delegate from Alaska to a gathering called the Continental Congress 2009.[4] He was also an organizing member of the Fairbanks-based Second Amendment Task Force.[5][6] At a 2009 gathering of the group, Cox drafted a declaration that the United States Government must be abolished if it further restricts gun rights. The declaration was signed by many, including United States Representative Don Young.[7] Cox has also reportedly identified himself as a member of the Sovereign citizen movement.[8][9][10]

Cox is said to be a close friend of Alaska politician Joe Miller,[11] although Cox has said that he did not support Miller in Miller's unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate in 2010. Cox stated, "[Miller's] going to try to run things in a more conservative way, but he's still trying to run things -- so he has the same fundamental problem of all the other politicians".[12] After Cox was arrested, Miller released a statement saying "Mr. Miller has never had any connection to any of Mr. Cox's militia organizations, and in no way condones any lawless behavior."[13]

Legal problems and convictionEdit

In March 2010, Cox was arrested by state authorities in Alaska for failing to disclose a concealed weapon.[14] It was reported that he assaulted his wife and pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment,[15] but his wife joined him to publicly deny the claims, and to explain the allegations completely as lies to defame Cox.[16]

In 2011 he was arrested for alleged involvement in a murder conspiracy known as "241" where two law enforcement officers were to be killed for each member of the Peacemakers Militia killed in anticipation of government action against Cox and weapons charges.[10][17]

In March 2011, Cox was arrested on federal charges in Fairbanks, Alaska, by the United States Marshals Service. He was charged with conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices, possession of an unregistered destructive device, possession of an unregistered silencer, possession of an unregistered machine gun, and other related charges under 18 U.S.C. § 371, 18 U.S.C. § 922 and 18 U.S.C. § 924 and Internal Revenue Code sections 5861(d), 5871, and 5861(f).[18] Also charged for involvement in the plot were Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon and Coleman Barney.[19] Cox's lawyers argued unsuccessfully that the charges should have been thrown out because the grand jury that served the indictment was flawed.[20]

In late October 2011, all state charges against Cox and his fellow defendants were dismissed. The dismissals followed a court ruling that kept prosecutors from using, as evidence, secret FBI recordings made without a search warrant. According to Assistant District Attorney Dway McConnell, the state charges cannot be refiled. [10]

Cox continued to face the federal weapons charges. In November 2011, additional federal charges were brought against him. The new charges related to the alleged purchase of hand grenades and silencers, and alleged possession of a loaded grenade launcher.[21]

On January 20, 2012, Cox and two co-defendants were charged in the same case with conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States, including law enforcement officers, "in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1111 and 1114...."[22][23] The trial began on May 7, 2012. The case went to the jury on Thursday, June 14, 2012.[24]

On June 18, 2012, Cox and codefendant Lonnie Vernon were each found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. The jury was unable to reach consensus on the conspiracy charge against codefendant Coleman Barney.[25][26] Barney was, however, convicted of conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices and possession of unregistered destructive devices.[27]

On September 24, 2012, Coleman L. Barney was sentenced to five years in federal prison. On January 7, 2013, Lonnie Vernon and his wife, Karen Vernon, were sentenced to 25 and 12 years, respectively.[28]

On January 8, 2013, Cox was sentenced to 310 months, or nearly 26 years, in federal prison. The conviction and sentence are being appealed.[29][30] Cox is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution,Terre Haute, and is not scheduled for release until October 26, 2033.[31]

On December 13, 2013 Cox recanted his claim of mental illness and the Fairbanks News Miner published a thirteen-page letter in which he alleged the Federal government is part of a broad conspiracy that led to his conviction and sentencing. He stated, regarding a forensic psychologist who evaluated him, "She was a short frumpy woman with frizzy hair, beady eyes." She had testified that he suffers from several paranoid disorders. At the sentencing hearing, Cox told the judge, "I put a lot of people in fear by the things that I said." "Some of the crazy stuff that was coming out of my mouth, I see that, and I sounded horrible." "I couldn't have sounded any worse if I tried." "The more scared I got, the crazier the stuff. I wasn't thinking, I was panicking." [32]

In February 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Cox permission to fire his fourth attorney, one who was currently handling his appeal.[33][34]

On August 30, 2017, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found there wasn't evidence to uphold his conviction for solicitation to murder, but affirmed his conviction for conspiracy. Cox's sentence of nearly 26 years has been vacated in light of the decision, and his case is being sent to a lower court for re-sentencing.[35]

US Supreme CourtEdit

In March, 2018, Cox's public defender, Michael Filipovic, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. In May, the federal government's Solicitor General's office filed a brief arguing that the established facts of the case contradicted Filipovic's brief. On June 11, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a denial of certiorari. This action then re-opened the possibility that Cox's case could be sent back to a lower court for re-sentencing.[36]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Sam Friedman. "The Schaeffer Cox File: The trail of a young man". Archived 2011-04-15 at the Wayback Machine Fairbanks Daily News Miner, 4/10/2011.
  2. ^ "Gun rights group leader has to leave his guns at home". Archived 2010-06-17 at the Wayback Machine Anchorage Daily News, 4/10/2011.
  3. ^ Alan Sunderman. "McCain, Palin differ on Real ID". Juneau Empire, 9/22/2008.
  4. ^ Craig Medred. "Searching for the real Schaeffer Cox". Alaska Dispatch, 5/19/2011.
  5. ^ "If you're packing, flaunt it, group says". Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine Anchorage Daily News, 2/21/2009.
  6. ^ Jeff Richardson. "Second Amendment Task Force leader Schaeffer Cox arrested on weapons charge". Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine Fairbanks Daily News Miner, 3/19/2011.
  7. ^ Mike Stark. "Rep. Young and indicted militia leader Schaeffer Cox". Daily Kos, 5/11/2011.
  8. ^ "Schaeffer Cox, 'sovereign citizen'," Dec. 23, 2010, Alaska Dispatch at [1].
  9. ^ David Holthouse, "Infringed or unhinged? Alaska's not-so-well regulated militia leaders," Dec. 22, 2010, Anchorage Press, at [2] Archived 2012-07-21 at
  10. ^ a b Eric Christopher Adams. "Schaeffer Cox pleads not guilty to federal weapons charge". Alaska Dispatch, 3/23/2011.
  11. ^ Yereth Rosen. "Alaska militia charged in murder-kidnap plot".[dead link] MSNBC, 3/11/2011.
  12. ^ Justin Elliot. "The militias' man in the Senate?"., 23/9/2010.
  13. ^ Justin Elliot. "Joe Miller in hot water for ties to militia leader"., 3/16/2011.
  14. ^ Casey Grove. "Militia members charged in '241' plot to kill judge, troopers". Anchorage Daily News, 3/12/2011.
  15. ^ "2010 in review: The top stories in Fairbanks". Archived 2012-03-18 at the Wayback Machine Fairbanks Daily News Miner, 1/1/2011
  16. ^ "Schaeffer Cox - Trouble in Fairbanks - Part 4". YouTube, 5/23/2010
  17. ^ Sam Friedman. "Prosecutors release photos of '241' weapons to argue against bail". Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine Fairbanks Daily News Miner, 7/7/2011.
  18. ^ Docket entry 3, Indictment, March 17, 2011, United States v. Cox, case no. 3:11-cr-00022-RJB, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Anchorage Div.).
  19. ^ "UPI NewsTrack TopNews". United Press International, 3/11/2011.
  20. ^ Jillian Rayfield. "Attorneys For Schaeffer Cox Want Murder Conspiracy Charges Thrown Out". TPMMuckracker, 4/7/2011.
  21. ^ "Feds charge Cox, Barney with having grenade launcher, grenade," Nov. 18, 2011, Alaska Dispatch, at [3].
  22. ^ Docket entry 239, p. 18, Third Superseding Indictment, Jan. 20, 2012, United States v. Cox, case no. 3:11-cr-00022-RJB, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Anchorage Div.).
  23. ^ Jill Burke, "Alaska militiamen slapped with new federal murder-conspiracy charges," Jan. 23, 2012, Alaska Dispatch, at [4].
  24. ^ Richard Mauer, June 15, 2012, "Militiaman's wife says he's guided by God's law," Anchorage Daily News, at [5].
  25. ^ Ben Anderson, "Alaska militia trial: Cox, Vernon found guilty of conspiracy to murder," June 18, 2012, Alaska Dispatch, at [6].
  26. ^ Richard Mauer & Lisa Demer, "Jury convicts militiamen on most charges," June 18, 2012, Anchorage Daily News, at [7] Archived 2012-06-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Judgment, United States v. Barney, Sept. 24, 2012, case no. 3:11-cr-00022-RJB, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Anchorage Div.).
  28. ^ "Lonnie, Karen Vernon Sentenced In Militia Trials". Alaska Public Media. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  29. ^ Docket entry 561, Jan. 8, 2013, United States v. Cox, case no. 3:11-cr-00022-RJB, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (Anchorage Div.).
  30. ^ Schaeffer Cox Sentenced to Nearly 26 Years in Militia Plot
  31. ^ Francis August Schaeffer Cox, inmate #16179-006, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Dep't of Justice, at [8], Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  32. ^ Sam Friedman, "Former militia leader Schaeffer Cox says mental illness account was sentencing ploy," Dec. 12, 2013, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, Alaska), at [9]
  33. ^ Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox denied request to fire fourth attorney, Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Sam Friedman, Feb 9, 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  34. ^ See generally United States v. Cox, case no. 13-30000, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  35. ^ Judges overturn Schaeffer Cox 'solicitation' murder sentence, upholds conspiracy,
  36. ^ Friedman, Sam (June 11, 2018). "U.S. Supreme Court declines to take Schaeffer Cox case". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Retrieved June 12, 2018.